Monthly Archives: August 2013

Ice Cream and Entertaining

Sometimes you invite people over (for food) and then realize you have nowhere near enough food to serve them.

Let me explain.

On Friday around 5pm, Andrew and I decided to make some homemade ice cream.  I pulled out a recipe for Blueberry-Cheesecake Ice Cream from the July issue of Southern Living and got to work.

I suggested that he text his team from work to see if anyone was free to come over later on for some ice cream and maybe some games. While I did want to have people over, I also didn’t want to Andrew and I to sit around all weekend eating a whole thing of ice cream. That may or may not have happened before…

I figured five or six people would come since it was so last minute. We ended up having 13 people over, which was great, but once the ice cream finished churning, I quickly realized we had nowhere near enough to serve everyone.

I tasted the ice cream and it was extremely rich and thick – more like a custard. On top of that, it made hardly any ice cream. The original recipe suggested serving it between two cookies, so maybe that’s what the recipe was geared for. I told Andrew about our little problem and he didn’t think it was a big deal at all. He said people wouldn’t care if they only got a few little bites of ice cream. That’s the difference between  a girl and a guy’s perspective on entertaining.

Onto my backup plan. I texted my best friend, Emily, to see if she was planning on coming by later. I knew her and her fiance were downtown and I had invited them to swing by at some point if they wanted to. Before she had time to respond, I texted her again, explained the situation, and then asked if there was any way she could go by Publix and pick up some vanilla ice cream to mix into the homemade ice cream. She picked it up for me and even hid it in her purse when she came in – no one even knew what went on behind-the-scenes. That’s a true best friend for you.

Honestly, I wouldn’t make this recipe again without mixing in the vanilla ice cream. The end product tasted delicious, but it was originally way too rich. We had just enough for everyone and got tons of compliments on it.

We had a fun night and I’m glad so many friends were able to come. Twenty somethings aren’t very hard to entertain. It’s amazing how far ice cream,  an iPhone app, and conversation can get you.

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream                                                                                             Adapted from Southern Living (my notes in italics)

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups half and half
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup whole buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons blueberry preserves
2 teaspoons lemon zest                                                                                                                                                              1.5 quart of vanilla ice cream

1. Process first 7 ingredients in a blender 30 seconds or until very smooth. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or up to 2 days (I chilled mine for 2.5 hours)
2. Pour mixture into freezer container of an electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. (Instructions and times may vary.)
3. Mash together blueberries, blueberry preserves, and lemon zest. Stir mixture into prepared ice cream. Freeze 1 hour before serving. Add in additional vanilla ice cream. Serve immediately, or transfer to an airtight container, and freeze up to 1 week.

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Five on Friday

If you’re a regular blog reader (of other blogs, not necessarily mine), you’ve probably heard of bloggers doing 5 on Friday. If you’re not familiar with 5 on Friday, it’s just basically a list of five things that you’re currently loving. A lot of bloggers even link-up with other bloggers to share their 5 on Friday, but I’m still learning how all that works. Anyways, here’s my list of favorites for the day…

ONE

Zara. com –  I’ve been keeping my eye out for a dress or two that I can wear to a few fall weddings we have coming up, and I decided to check out Zara.com yesterday. I’m not usually a big online shopper because I like to try things on, and I hate spending money on shipping both ways if I end up sending something back. However, I was thrilled to find out Zara has free shipping and returns. I ordered a few things to try and now I don’t feel bad about spending the money on shipping if I send them back.

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TWO

The fact that I get to go see Lion King on Broadway (well sort of – the touring group) next weekend! Lion King came to Greenville last summer when I was in New York, so I didn’t get to see it when it was in town. I found out they were coming to Charlotte, NC about a year ago and asked Andrew if we could go. We bought tickets when they went on sale and April, and I can’t wait to see it!

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THREE

Fall-ish weather. It’s been a bit cooler than normal the past few days, and I can’t say that I mind it too much. I’m not quite ready to put away my summer clothes yet, but it’s been nice to have a break from the heat and humidity.

FOUR

French Macarons. I talked about my failed first attempt a French Macarons in a post a few weeks ago, but I made them again last week and they were so much better – not perfect, but better. I think I may try to make some Lemon Macarons this weekend.

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FIVE

Working from home. I work from home three days a week, which is really nice. When it’s gloomy and rainy like it is this morning, I’m extra thankful that I don’t  have to get up and go to an office.

 

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Lake Days

We spent this weekend relaxing, reading, and playing on the lake with my family. And yes, I enjoy reading while I lay out at the lake. My siblings  make fun of me – it’s not that weird, is it?

Here’s a few shots to sum up our weekend…

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Kinley played a lot of fetch.

Kinley-Jumping

She also got to practice diving into the lake a lot. She can swim just fine, but we put the life jacket on her because she hasn’t exactly mastered getting up the ladder, so we use it to pull her out of the water.

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Cute husband.

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Spiderman husband.

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Autumn got to spend the weekend with us, which we always love.  Autumn was my family’s foster child for a year and a half, but  she got adopted by a wonderful family that lives less than five minutes away from my parents, so thankfully we still get to see her a good bit. She was also the flower girl in our wedding. Isn’t she cute?

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My brother throwing my sister into the water. This seemed to happen a lot.

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I put together a sequence of Kinley jumping in. Don’t look too close because you’ll see my mistakes.

I took all these photos with my brother’s Canon t3i that he let me play around with, which turned out to be a good thing and a bad thing. Good because I really, really liked it. Bad because now I want one, and they aren’t exactly cheap. Maybe I’ll ask for that for the next five birthdays and Christmases. Ok, it’s not that expensive, but still.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Weekend Recap (I Love Greenville)

I don’t know why, but this past weekend was one of those weekends that reminds me why I love Greenville so much. Andrew was in Atlanta all week last week for his job, so we decided to lay low this past weekend since he had been gone and knew he would be tired when he got back.  When he got home on Friday night,  we popped a frozen pizza in the oven (gourmet, I know) and then drove to get a little treat at Sno Hut. If you aren’t familiar with Sno Hut, it’s literally a little snow cone hut in the middle of a parking lot on Wade Hampton. They probably have around 50 flavors, and the best part is that it was only $3.50 for both of us to eat.

After our gourmet pizza dinner, we (me) got on a cooking kick and decided we wanted to make fresh pasta the next day. We quickly realized how much work that would be without a pasta maker (rolling the dough, cutting eat individual piece, etc.), so we thought it would be a better idea to buy some fresh pasta at the TD Saturday Market. I also tried my hand at French Macarons on Saturday, but I’ll save that for another post. Hint: it didn’t turn out so well.

On Saturday morning, we got up and went to the market downtown.  Every time I go to the market, I always wonder why I don’t go more often. We both bought breakfast at one of the booths, and then picked some fresh green beans and black pepper pasta from Naked Pasta for dinner. 

Farmers Markt

My mom and sister met me at our house on Saturday and the three of us walked downtown to get some ice cream with our sweet little lab Kinley. It was pretty hot, so the ice cream was the perfect way to break up the walk there are back.

Kinley-in-park

Kinley likes to pretend she’s a lap dog, but it’s our fault too since we don’t exactly discourage it…

Andrew and I started working on dinner shortly after I got back. I found a  recipe on SimplyRecipes.com for this Shrimp Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce and was really pleased with how it turned out. I used a little less heavy whipping cream to cut back on the calories, and it still came out good and wasn’t too rich. I paired it with these Garlic-Lemon Green Beans from CooksIllustrated.com and some toasted bread.

Fresh-Pasta-Finished

Not the best picture, but it tasted wonderful! Will definitely make it again!

Is it bad that I’m already excited/ready for this coming weekend? We’re heading to the lake and hoping for lots of sunshine! I can’t believe summer is almost over – it’s gone by so fast.

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Recipe Review: Blueberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake

I was flipping through the July issue of Food Network Magazine a few weeks ago and came across this recipe for Blueberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake. After realizing that I had all the ingredients on hand, I couldn’t resist trying it out.

Why can’t I have the same craving to make healthy recipes like I do desserts? To be fair, Andrew and I did end up sharing this with some neighbors and my family so we wouldn’t have whole  cake sitting around house…

Blueberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake

For the cake:
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups blueberries (about 1 pint)

For the toppings:
2 to 3 cups large strawberries, halved or quartered (about 1 pint) (I chose to use peaches instead of strawberries)
1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 to 5 tablespoons milk
Directions
Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a nonstick 12-cup Bundt pan. Whisk 3 cups flour, the baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat 2 sticks butter, the granulated sugar and vegetable oil in a bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, at least 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low; beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the vanilla. Add about one-third of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk; beat until almost incorporated. Add another one-third of the flour mixture and the remaining buttermilk. Beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until just combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat 30 seconds. Finish incorporating the flour by hand to avoid overmixing.

Toss the blueberries with the remaining 2 tablespoons flour in a small bowl. Spoon one-third of the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle in half of the blueberries, then top with another one-third of the batter. Scatter the remaining blueberries on top and cover with the rest of the batter; smooth the top. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour, 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool 30 minutes in the pan. Run a small sharp knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake, then invert onto the rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the toppings: Toss the strawberries with the granulated sugar in a bowl; set aside to macerate, 30 minutes. Just before serving, make the glaze: Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, butter and 4 tablespoons milk in a bowl; if the glaze is too thick, whisk in up to 1 more tablespoon milk, a little at a time. Pour the glaze over the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Serve with the strawberries and their juices.

Blueberry-Bundt-Cake

This recipe was super easy to make, and I was pleased with how it turned out. I would definitely make it again.

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