You know what’s the worst? Getting back into a routine after vacation. For reals. I don’t want to cook, clean, go to the grocery store or work out. I want to go to the beach, then the pool, then lunch then back to the beach then dinner (and dessert) then shop. Can that be real life? No? Are you sure? Well, I suppose it’s time.
Usually by the end of a vacation I am totally ready to go home but this time I wasn’t and could have totally stayed a few more days. Our vacations are typically go go go as we want to see and do everything possible at our destination. This means we don’t have a lot of time to relax. This time around we decided to keep it low key since it’s hard to run around with the kids and I’m so glad we did. We had lots of fun playing and making memories. If you all are interested, I will share photos and some stories of our vacation sometime soon.
Like I told you here, I made several different ice creams for Noah’s 4th birthday party and this was one of them. It is creamy, rich and tastes like vanilla pudding. Although the roasted strawberry ice cream was the clear favorite among most of the party guests, this was my personal favorite. And it tastes so much better than the store-bought or ice cream shop versions.
The varieties are endless with this recipe and I think I will be trying it with red velvet cake mix with mini chocolate chips next time. Doesn’t that sound divine?
Cake Batter Ice Cream
recipe from Annie Eats
2 cups heavy cream, divided
½ cup yellow cake mix
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups whole milk
1/8 cup sprinkles, optional
1. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup heavy cream, cake mix, sugar and salt. Whisk until combined and heat until warmed through. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks until pale and thickened. In a large bowl, combine the last cup of cream, vanilla and milk. Place a fine mesh sieve over the bowl and set aside.
2. Once the cream on the stovetop has heated through, slowly drizzle into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook until thickened. Pour the mixture through the fine sieve into the milk and cream. Combine thoroughly then refrigerate until completely cooled. Freeze according to manufacturers directions. Dump in the sprinkles during the last minute of churning.
We are leaving for the Dominican Republic tomorrow at the crack of dawn. Literally. Our plan starts boarding at 5:05 which means we have to leave the house by 3:45, with a toddler and a baby. Not sure we were thinking clearly when we booked the flight. I’m pretty sure we are going to get the stink eye from our fellow passengers. Especially since said baby is wild, crazy and her screeching may be mistaken for a pterodactyl on board (totally didn’t know pterodactyl started with a p). Ooooh well. We’re going to a tropical paradise and nothing is going to bring me down!
So I was a totally unprepared and unfit blogger and didn’t prepare posts ahead of time so I’m going to be MIA for the next week or so. I promise I planned on it but with Noah’s party last week it totally slipped my mind and just didn’t happen. And I don’t even feel bad about it because when Noah woke up on the day of his party he told us “this is going to be the best day of my life” and he confirmed it by the end of the night. I’ll have more ice cream recipes to share from his party as well as some pictures of the fun cupcakes I made.
Anyway, onto the waffles. And just FYI before you start, if you decide to double this recipe like I did the first time you should definitely double all the ingredients…like the cocoa powder. Kind of important. Sometimes I worry about myself.
These whole wheat waffles are rich and chocolate-y (as long as you put in enough that is) and just slightly sweet. Using whole wheat pastry flour ensures that they aren’t dense and dry. And with just a few slight changes to the original recipe they are easily converted to a delicious clean breakfast. They are really yummy smothered in fresh strawberries and drizzled with pure maple syrup. Yum!
Whole Wheat Chocolate Banana Waffles
recipe adapted from Alida’s Kitchen
1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. honey
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 overripe bananas, mashed (about 3/4 cup)
2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pure maple syrup for serving
1. In a small bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together the honey, buttermilk, bananas, grapessed oil, eggs and vanilla.
2. Incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients being sure not to overmix (which will lead to tough, dense waffles). Let batter sit for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, preheat waffle iron. Cook waffles according to your waffle makers directions.
Noah is going to be four next week. FOUR! He’s having a putt putt golf birthday party this weekend and requested strawberry cupcakes with strawberry frosting. Usually I go all out with the food for his party but I decided to keep it simple this year and order pizza since we are leaving for vacation early Tuesday morning. Well, I couldn’t just leave well enough alone so I decided to make a few different ice creams to go with his homemade cupcakes.
Since he seemed to be on a strawberry kick I figured strawberry ice cream was a requirement. With a little searching I found this recipe for roasted strawberry ice cream. I’ve never heard of roasting strawberries and was very intrigued and just had to give it a try. The strawberries are roasted with sugar, vanilla and wine then half of them are pureed and mixed into the custard mixture.
It’s sweet, creamy and bursting with strawberry goodness. I love that the ice cream has the strawberry puree and chunks throughout for a double punch.
Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream
recipe adapted from Novice Housewife
Have any of you stripped and refinished furniture before? Any tips or tricks? It’s our big project this weekend and it seems like a bit of work but I’m super pumped about it.
We are tackling our dining room table and buffet which are both older than me. My parents bought it right before I was born and we got it as a hand me down after we were married and they bought a new table. The chairs were replaced by some fun Ikea chairs a few years ago when they started to fall apart but the table and buffet are still going strong. We thought about buying new but I kind of love the history behind them so we’re going with the freshen up approach. The table will be a creamy white and this green is going on the buffet. The green is definitely bolder in person and will be a fun pop of color. So excited.
You know what else excites me? Olive Garden salad. And when I say salad, I mean the dressing it is swimming in. I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite thing about visiting the restaurant. And I have good news for you, this tastes just like it.
I love it so much that I can think up just about any reason to make this. Oh, you stubbed your toe? Let me make Olive Garden salad, it will make you feel better. You spent all day inhaling fumes from the paint stripper and dust from the sander? Here, I have salad. You see where I’m going here?
Copycat Olive Garden Dressing
recipe from Dear Beautiful You
1/3 cup white vinegar
4 1/2 Tbsp. water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 packet Good Seasons Italian salad dressing packet
1 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Place in airtight jar and refrigerate. Dressing tastes best if made the night before.
Ok, so I have to apologize for being so MIA lately around here. I don’t really have a big excuse for it, just a lot of little things. Joel was in NYC last week, Hannah is teething and will only allow me to hold her (every waking minute) and Noah is in the nonstop questions stage. So I’m pretty sure my brain has melted which really makes it impossible to blog. Dramatic much? Seriously though, it’s just been a bit hectic but I promise I’ll be better!
I made this cheesecake pie about a month ago when some friends were visiting from Seattle. I had been craving cheesecake but wanted to make it a bit summery and bright. I also didn’t want to crank on the oven since it was incredibly hot and humid. And out of these things I came up with the almost no-bake lemon cheesecake pie.
The crust is a combination of graham cracker crumbs, almonds and coconut for a bit of a tropical feel. It’s lightly baked, cooled then topped with a no-bake cheesecake layer. And the grand finale is a thin layer of homemade lemon curd spread on top. It’s a nice combination of rich, creamy, light and zippy.
This pie would be a great end to your 4th of July celebration.
Lemon Cheesecake Pie
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup sweetened coconut
1 stick butter, melted
recipe from Martha Stewart
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup lemon curd
1. For the crust: pulse the almonds in a food processor until you get coarse crumbs. Add coconut, graham cracker crumbs and butter and pulse until it just comes together. Press into a 9-inch springform pan and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.
2. Meanwhile, for the cheesecake layer: beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the condensed milk, 1/4 cup at a time. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla. Pour into cooled pie crust and cover with plastic wrap. Let chill in refrigerator for 3 hours.
3. After cheesecake has chilled, gently spread the lemon curd on top. Recover with plastic wrap and refrigerator until ready to serve.
When Joel is out of town or has to work late, I almost always make some kind of version of this. Whether it’s all veggies or chicken and broccoli, it’s always my go to meal. He’s not a big veggie guy if you guys haven’t figured that out by now.
This is quick and easy to make while making sure your 3 year old isn’t throwing a baseball in the house and the baby isn’t crawling up the stairs or chewing on cords. Not that I know from experience or anything.
Since I’ve always preferred pasta over rice, lo mein is far superior to fried rice in my book. And this is so filling it’s a meal in itself. Perfect for those crazy, busy summer days!
Veggie Lo Mein
recipe adapted from Chinese Food DIY
6 ounces vermicelli, uncooked
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3-5 cups chopped bok choy (I couldn’t find any so I used cabbage mix)
1 cup low sodium fat free chicken broth
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 cup coarsely shredded carrot
1/4 cup chopped green onion
Additional low sodium soy sauce
1. Cook pasta 1 minute less than package directions.
2. Meanwhile, heat a wok or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat then coat with cooking spray. Add sesame oil, garlic and bok choy and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, soy sauce and crushed red pepper and stir fry 1 more minute. Add carrot and stir fry another minute.
3. Stir in pasta and cook for a minute until thoroughly combined and heated through. Add more soy sauce if desired.
One of the hardest things for me when I started making eating clean a priority was condiments. I love dip, you may even call it an addiction. Although ketchup is never my first choice in condiments (gasp, how un-American of me) it is necessary during grilling season for burgers and hot dogs!
To try out a clean ketchup, I turned to one of my favorite healthy food blogs Skinny Taste. The sugar or corn syrup usually present in ketchup is replaced by a bit of honey. And a major plus is every single ingredient is a pantry staple so I can whip up a batch any time we need it. It’s not quite as sweet as store-bought ketchup but you I don’t think you’ll miss it.
recipe from Skinny Taste
6 oz. can tomato paste
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
Whisk all ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Have you had enough of all my talk about roasted garlic yet? If you have, so sorry but here’s one last recipe for awhile. I told you I was going to share this with you last week but life happened and this didn’t.
This pizza has some of my very favorite things in life, chicken, bacon, cheese and of course the garlic. Seriously, how could it not be good?
The pizza feels lighter than most since there’s not really a sauce but I’m sure it’s not (calorie wise) due to all the deliciousness. Joel missed not having sauce so he drizzled it with ranch for a spin on a chicken bacon ranch pizza.
Another thing I love is black pepper and I just happened to find a black peppercorn smoked gouda that was an amazing addition to this creation.
Most of the prep for this pizza can be done ahead of time (think pizza dough in the freezer, cook bacon and chicken the night before, shred cheese) so you can just throw it together when you are ready to eat. I love that with a little planning and prep work we can have fresh, homemade pizza on a busy weeknight. And fancy pizza at that. Especially seeing that my boys are “fantastic lovers of pizza.” Yep, the 3 year old came up with that. How could you not serve pizza?
Roasted Garlic Chicken Bacon and Gouda Pizza
1/2 whole wheat crust recipe (2 disks)
2 heads of roasted garlic, mashed very well
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large chicken breast, grilled and cut into small bite size pieces
6 strips of bacon, crisp and crumbled
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded smoked gouda
1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Roll out pizza crust to desired thickness and place on a pizza stone.
2. Mix together roasted garlic and olive oil then spread evenly over the crust. Top crust with chicken, bacon and cheeses.
3. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden and bubbly.
So let’s celebrate. I have to admit that I haven’t made a whole lot of doughnuts in my time but I sure have eaten my fair share. I have to say my favorites are the classic blueberry cake and lemon filled covered in powdered sugar. Today I’m going to share some delicious looking doughnuts from around the web. I want to make every single one and shove them in my face.
Homemade Crullers from Lauren’s Latest look so so delicious.
Orange Sugar Fried Donut Holes are how we are celebrating Doughnut Day today! Forget the popcorn for movie night…doughnuts for life. Well, let’s be serious we’ll have popcorn too seeing that Noah and I are addicts. But we air pop our own so it’s all good.
I fell in love with beignets when we were in NOLA so these New Orleans Beignets from Seeded at the Table are at the top of the list.
My little chocaholic would love these Glazed Chocolate Donuts from Buns in my Oven.
Old Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts sound ah-mazing!
Annie Eats Strawberry Vanilla Doughnuts are drool-worthy.
These Snickerdoodle Doughnuts would be at the top of Joel’s list for sure. I mean, a streusel crumble and glaze. I die.
And of course the classic Glazed Doughnut (Krispy Kreme inspired).
And there you have it. Like I said, drool.
Roasted garlic is a glorious way to flavor dips, veggies, potatoes, steaks and salad dressing or to just slather on French bread. There are so many delicious ways to enjoy it! As you can see, I have mentioned it many times around here but have never shared in an official manner how to make it. So here you go, a how to on roasted garlic. You’re welcome.
And I have an amazing recipe later in the week using it so make sure to watch out for it. You won’t be sorry.
First, cut off a bit of the top of the garlic to expose the cloves, drizzle with olive oil and season with kosher salt.
Wrap it up tight and roast in the oven.
After 45 minutes, you have this. And your kitchen will smell like sweet, nutty garlic. Try to contain the excitement.
After it has cooled, squeeze out the garlic (making sure to keep the olive oil too) and smash it up.
This stuff is seriously amazing.
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Slice off the top of the garlic just enough that all of the cloves are exposed. Place on a square of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt. Close tightly and roast in oven for 45 minutes. Once cool, squeeze out all garlic cloves and any olive oil and smash.