Saturday, August 20, 2016

Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream

I am still having a love affair with ice cream. I think I am actually enjoying making it even more than eating it - strange I know!  This is a little "icier" than other recipes because it is made with heavy cream and milk, so the fat count is lower.  You can substitute half and half for the milk if you would like a richer, creamier product.

The chocolate and maraschino cherries are a great combination, and the touch of cinnamon is an added taste treat.  It's just enough to notice but not overpower in any way.  YUM!

And with "fall weather" several months away in southern California, there will definitely be more frozen treats to share!

Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream

adapted from Butter with  Bread

2 c. heavy whipping cream
2 c. milk (I used whole but 2% is fine; half and half will produce a richer result)
1 c. organic cane sugar
3 T. cocoa
1/4 t. cinnamon (optional  - but it adds a nice flavor)
1/4 c. maraschino cherry juice
20 maraschino cherries, quartered 
1 T. vodka (optional  - will keep it from freezing into a solid brick!)

Mix all of the ingredients together (except the cherries.)  Use an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes to blend them all well.  Pour this mixture into the ice cream maker and let process according to the machine's directions.  About 5 minutes before the ice cream is done, add the quartered cherries. 

Freeze in a quart container for a few hours - at least.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

More Summer Cards...

Seems like I have been making a lot of cards lately and trying to stretch my creativity while using what I have.  Now that the craft room is semi-organized, it makes finding things much easier and am trying to push myself out of my "comfort zone".  It's been fun to try new things and am going to continue to push myself to do learn new things.  It makes it much more fun to see what happens, especially when I don't over plan the card.  Am trying to let it develop as I go and really like these two, totally different cards!

This is a simple card - used dotted strips from Gina K, foiled them in blue and
cut and attached as borders.  Embossed vellum creates the background to the
"Celebrate" message from Miss Kate's Cuttables. Papers are from Paper Temptress.

Another shot of that shiny foil - love the look!

Another card using embossed vellum as the background (so easy).
This flower is from a stencil drawing and I used some iridescent papers (made by Folio - 5x5" squares that I have had for some time.)
They change colors depending on how the light hits them, which
explains the difference in color in the pics. Definitely hard to photograph!

I added pop dots on the flower to give it more interest and dimension.

I love trying new things and pushing out of my comfort zone.  Have more cards to post just as soon as I get the photos edited.  It's been a great month for card making and I hope it continues as I have more to accomplish!
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Friday, August 12, 2016

I Hate Cancer!

Yes,  I HATE cancer.  I hate that it has robbed two wonderful people of a long life with family and friends. I hate that it comes out of nowhere and turns life upside down.  I hate that I know so many others who are actively fighting it and I find hope in the fact that some/many of them will beat this disease.  I am reminded of the times when I watched my Mother bravely fight it three times.  Over a span of thirty+ years, she fought breast cancer, uterine cancer and colon cancer.  She was the winner of the first two battles and when it reappeared in her life, in her early 80s, she was also recovering from breaking a hip.  I believe it was all too much for her.  She was one of those who exercised almost religiously, watched what she ate (probably to a fault!), was never overweight, etc.  She lived such a healthy life. I lost her fifteen years ago and still wonder....why??? 

And sadly, I made these cards to memorialize two beautiful people who bravely fought and lost.  I hope these cards bring the families a little solace and remind them that they are loved....always.

The world, my world,  has lost two very special people in the past two weeks. First, it was the adult son of a dear friend of mine.  Her oldest son was diagnosed with brain cancer in April and he passed away the end of July - four short agonizing months..........

The second was for the husband of a special friend.  This dear womanwas diagnosed with ovarian cancer 3 1/2 years ago. I have never seen anyone fight like she did - from chemo to immunotherapy to radiation along with vision boards, experimental drugs, nutritional changes, herbal tinctures - you name it; she gave it her all and never believed the cancer would get her. Even in the face of horrible news, she would still say she believed she was in remission and the doctors were wrong.  It was an unbelievable journey, but so painful to watch, especially the past six months.  She lost her battle on Monday.

God bless these two remarkable people, and all of the warriors in our lives who are fighting this disease with all they have.  May they continue to be strong...... may they be victorious.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Peanut Butter Brownie Swirl Ice Cream

This may be my new favorite.  But then again, my list of favorites is growing as rapidly as the ice cream varieties in the freezer!  This one......with the peanut butter swirling through this ice cream is decadent yet  light and has a nougat-like texture.  It tastes so good in this ice cream and the little bits of brownie pieces just add to the unbeatable flavor combination.  The ice cream itself has a richness about it, but you don't need a lot of it to satisfy any sweet tooth or ice cream craving.  This is definitely a winner and easy to make because you don't need an ice cream machine.  Don't get me wrong - I LOVE my ice cream machine and when I have the time and desire to go through the additional steps, it makes mouth watering ice cream  concoctions.  But these "all over the internet no churn ice cream recipes" are a great alternative.  (and no one else will know you didn't spend hours making it!)  I promise there are more ice cream recipes to share in the near future - I just need some current photos!  If you knew what was coming you would be SO excited!!

But this is a great one in the meantime and was a big hit with all who tried it!

Peanut Butter Brownie Ice Cream

adapted from Bakerella

2 c. heavy whipping cream
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 1/2 c. small brownie pieces
chopped peanuts (4-5 T.) - optional
1 T. vodka (optional - the alcohol will help it not freeze quite so solid)

Chill mixing bowl and beater in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Warm the peanut butter in the microwave and stir about a third of the can of sweetened condensed milk.

Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.  Take about a third of the whipped cream and add it to the peanut butter mixture and set aside.

Fold together the remaining whipped cream and remainder of can of sweetened condensed milk.  When blended, add the vanilla.  Then fold in the brownie pieces.

Fill an ice cream container (I love these Tovolo containers) , alternating the cream mixture with the peanut butter mixture. (start with the whipped cream mixture and spoon about 1/3 into the container.  The dollop the peanut butter mixture in top and swirl gently with a knife.  Repeat the layers two more times).  Top with chopped peanuts, if desired.

Cover with parchment paper (helps prevent ice crystals) before freezing.  Will be ready in six hours

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Friday, August 5, 2016

Watercolor Cards

I have slowly been getting back into card making and wanted to put what I have to good use.  I have always loved floral images and the digi stamps from Power Poppy are beautiful. I love that digi stamps are so versatile and you can make them any size you want/need for any project.

I needed summer birthday cards and flowers always seem appropriate no matter what the occasion.  These make me smile as they are so realistic.  I have a healthy appreciation for anyone who can draw this beautifully - I was not blessed with artistic talent but I certainly recognize it in others!  I am so grateful that they are willing to share their gifts.

The images were cut out using the SCAL software and Silver Bullet Pro. The shapelies (nesting shapes) are from Penny Duncan Creations.

Watercolored with Spectrum Noir Aqua markers - still learning.
Geraniums from Power Poppy

Finished card with a little texture and bling added.

Another watercolor attempt with Power Poppy Gerbera Daisies.
Lots of dimension and bling in the centers and ribbon to accent.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

From Baby to Boy to Young Man - 27 Years to Celebrate!

Yesterday was the birthday of my youngest.  As I have said before, male cards are not my forte, but Rob makes it a little easier for me because I see him fairly often and know what he is "into"  - and it's no surprise that he is an avid Pokéman Go player/walker/streamer.  So it made the card decision easy.

It was not difficult to find logos of Pokéman Go - but finding a good quality and one that would trace was a different story.  I just kept it simple with a print and cut and fun background elements. And he loved it so that was my goal!  He is now sporting a Fitbit Blaze which he really wanted as his android knockoff was not working well.  The good thing about Pokéman Go is that it is getting him off his computer and out of his apartment. He has been walking a minimum of three miles a day (guesstimate) so now he can actually track it.

I don't now when this current game craze will be over, but I love that people are getting out and seeing the world around them in a different way.  Just hope everyone pays attention and plays safely (such a "Mom comment"!)

Happy 27th Birthday, Rob!

Simple print and cut - wanted the full image (bottom)
and just the logo from the top piece -
that's why the registration marks don't encompass the entire print.

Perfect cuts every time - love the ease of this.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

I just found out this weekend that July is Ice Cream Month.  How convenient because I have quite a few ice cream recipes to share with you - and since I didn't know there was a whole month dedicated to ice cream,  I started my obsession with this frozen delight in June!!  I like to be early with things that are so good - and the recipes I am sharing with you are really THAT good - and I have more in the works so stay tuned.  I don't know why I have a fascination with ice cream these days.  The weather hasn't even been that hot (although reports are that a heat wave is coming the end of the week - yikes!)  so I cannot use that as an excuse....yet.  Maybe I just want to have all of my favorites figured out so when it is hot and miserable and the only thing that tastes good is a cold bowl or cone of ice cream, I will be totally prepared!  Makes sense to me!!  I currently have four different flavors in the freezer - how absurd is that?  The only redeeming (barely) fact is that I only make a quart at a time, so that makes it more acceptable in my book. If they were the half gallon size, then you could conclude that I have a serious ice cream addiction  - but quart size is totally acceptable. Right?  And I don't even eat it that often - that is the funny thing. You would think I would be attacking it on a daily basis, but since it's there in a variety of flavors, and I know I can easily make more, it just doesn't seem to have control over my whole being - at least not this week!  Will keep you posted on that one.

So - now that I have tempted you with the idea of more deliciousness to come, I will share this winner with you.  You do need an ice cream machine to make this one, but it is worth it.  The next time I make it, I would add graham cracker crumbs for a little more cheesecake texture - but it is fabulous as it is.

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

adapted from Hip Foodie Mom

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. organic cane sugar
1 c. cold heavy cream
8 oz. strawberry Greek yogurt
1 T. fresh lemon juice
3 T. strawberry jam (good quality)
1 t. vanilla extract (I use Vanilla Bean Crush from King Arthur flour that has bits of vanilla beans in it)
2 heaping cups of fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped.

OPTIONAL:  If you don't want it to freeze quite so hard, add 1 T. vodka when you are mixing all of the ingredients. Alcohol doesn't freeze, so that makes it a little easier to scoop out.

With a stand mixer or good hand mixer, use the whisk attachment and blend together the cream cheese, heavy cream, sugar, strawberry yogurt, lemon juice, and vanilla extract and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as needed.

Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chopped strawberries gently until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and chill well in the refrigerator - for about an hour.  Pour into your ice cream canister.

When done processing, put it in an airtight container and freeze for at least 6 hours before heating (although licking the ice cream beater when it is finish in the machine is certainly acceptable - and even necessary!

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

No Knead Skillet Rosemary Parmesan Bread... ON THE GRILL!

I love making bread.  I grew up with a grandmother from Austria who was the most incredible baker. She made everything without a recipe - and it was always delicious. I can still smell the aroma of brioche fresh out of the oven.  It was intoxicating!  I wish I had inherited her baking abilities, but perhaps my love of "dough" in general comes from her. I like to think so!

So when this recipe came across my computer screen, I was intrigued.  I have made no knead bread before, but always in a Dutch oven.   This had a much shorter rising time and was baked in a skillet.  So I just had to try something new. And because I didn't want to heat up the kitchen, I decided to put my outdoor grill to work and see if it could indeed bake.  I am happy to say it did not disappoint!  I am now quite eager to do more cooking on the grill, especially as the sun becomes more intense.  I love the idea of being able to bake all year long. 

The thing I love about no knead bread is the ease in which it is made.  You just do a little mixing with a wooden spoon.  It looks rough and like it needs more attention (aka kneading into a nice smooth ball), but it actually is quite happy to gently rise in the bowl it was mixed.  Then you shape it, bake it - and voila - hot homemade herbaceous bread!

If you are at all hesitant to try your hand at bread baking, this is a great place to start.  It is simple, VERY forgiving, and well worth the little attention. And the end result make it enormously gratifying.

You just have to try this!

No Knead Rosemary Parmesan Skillet Bread

adapted from Handle the Heat

1 pkg. (2 1/4 t.) instant yeast
2 c. lukewarm water
4 1/2 c. regular flour
2 T. chopped fresh rosemary (plus extra for sprinkling on top)
1 1/2 t. fine salt
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
olive oil (2-3 T)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast and lukewarm water.  Add about half the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Add the rosemary, salt and remaining flour and stir until combined.  It won't be pretty - sort of shaggy looking, but that's ok.  Cover with plastic wrap (spray the underside of the plastic wrap with cooking spray so the dough won't stick if it rises too high!) and let it rise in a warm place. This should take about an hour.

Brush the bottom of the cast iron skillet (10" or 12") with about 2 T olive oil and set aside.
Dust the dough and your hands with flour before shaping it into a round disc.  The dough will be sticky.  Don't worry about creating a perfect circle - it still has to rise one more time.  Place it in the skillet, cover loosely, and let rise until puffy, about 30 minutes.

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. (I set the grill to 375 ).

When ready to bake, drizzle or spray the top of the dough with olive oil.  Slash the dough with a sharp knife in an "x".  Sprinkle with a little more chopped rosemary.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven (or grill), sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese, and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until a golden brown (I did 25 minutes in the grill).

Remove from skillet and enjoy every morsel!

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Couple of June Cards

The end of last month brought a need to make a variety of cards, so I decided to showcase the two together -  a birthday and a get well .  Actually there was a third - a sympathy card, but I must have sneezed when I tool the photo as it was THAT much out of focus.  So when I make another one like that (and I used a new to me technique too) I will share.  And since I have not been able to find a really good spot in my beach condo to take photos, I have ordered something that will help me immensely and hopefully you will see the difference in a couple of weeks - at the most!

The birthday card was for the mother of a dear friend - I grew up on the same street and she was one of my mother's special friends.  Her daughter has been a dear friend since we were both three years old - and we are both well beyond that now!  I spent many of my childhood hours/days/months  at her home - I was an only child so life with a family of five brothers and sisters  was much more exciting!   I wanted to live there.  We seem to want what we don't have, especially when we are young, and realize many years later just how lucky we were to have exactly what we needed...... I guess that is what getting older  maturity - does for you.

So here is the card for my dear friend's mother.  In later years, I have called myself the adopted daughter since I was always hanging around there - whether or not they wanted me to!  She celebrated her 88th birthday and that is such a joyous occasion.

This is spirella that I have not done in a while - it's addicting.
The ribbon is really purple, it just isn't showing well in this photo. 
All of these beautiful colors are from the PopTone collection at Paper Temptress.
Next -- in my own back yard, one of my "new" neighbors is recovering from a hip replacement, so I wanted to let him know I was wishing him well.    He knew my father well, so we bonded immediately when we met almost a year ago now.  He has an affinity for vintage cars, so I found  an illustration online, traced it, cut out the various parts and put it all together to make a  "get well soon" card for him.  I handed it to him this week - just 11 days after his hip replacement and he was walking around with barely the use of a cane.  I was and still am in awe!  Good for him!

This was fun to do and was easy to trace with the SCAL software.

Each of the cards is quite different, but it was gratifying to push myself creatively and try some new things, while reaching out to special people to let them know I care...

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Cinnamon Sugar Blueberry Banana Bread

If you have bananas that are ripening way too fast (especially in the summer) and some fresh blueberries, then this recipe is for you!  Most of the work is done in the blender so it is easy and delicious too.

Cinnamon Sugar Blueberry Banana Bread

adapted from Crazy for Crust

3/4 c. cane sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/4 t. salt
2 overripe bananas
2 eggs
7 T. buttermilk
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
2 c. flour
2 c. fresh blueberries

1/4 c. cane sugar
1 t. cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375.  Grease a 9x5" loaf pan and dust with sugar.  Set aside.

Cream the butter and 3/4 c. sugar with a hand mixer. Set aside.

Add the bananas, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a blender jar and process until smooth.

Pour half the banana mixture into the butter mixture, along with 1 c. flour. (Remove 1 T. flour from remaining cup and toss with blueberries).  Mix with hand mixer just until incorporated.  Add the remaining banana mixture and flour.  Mix just until combined.  Gently fold in the floured blueberries (this prevents them from falling to the bottom of the loaf while baking).  Pour mixture into the prepared pan.

Combine the 1/4 c. sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean.  The edges should be a dark brown with a crack down the middle.

Cool completely before removing from the pan.  This keeps for quite a while. Put it in the refrigerator after a day (if you are lucky enough to have any left!  Enjoy!

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About Me

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I am a mother to three and Grammy to two beautiful granddaughters and one very handsome little grandson.  Was born and raised in southern California and am happy to call it home.  I fill my days with volunteer work, paper crafting, needlework of all kinds and cooking and baking.   I am blessed with wonderful family and friends who fill my heart on a daily basis.