Tag Archives: Summer

Goodbye Summer

Summer may not officially be over until September 21st, but I always feel like it’s over after Labor Day weekend. For some reason, I’m really sad to see summer go this year. Usually I’m so ready for fall to be here, and I kind of am, but this summer has been a lot of fun. I’m going to miss  lake days, muggy walks at night, picnics,  ice cream, and a slower pace in general.

Now we enter my least favorite time of the year – the time when it’s still 90 degrees out but we have to try to “transition dress” into fall. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE fall, but now I’m ready to have fall weather.  I ‘m itching to pull out my boots, scarves, and sweaters. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to do that for quite some time seeing as it stays pretty warm through the end of October.

We celebrated Labor Day weekend with a mix of summer and fall activities. Seems fitting. We enjoyed our last weekend at the lake, watched our Clemson Tigers beat the Georgia Bulldogs, and went apple picking with Andrew’s family.

We usually go apple picking at the end of October or November, but apparently right now is a great time to go. We had a much larger variety to choose from than we usually do. Of course I came home and made an apple pie right away – so good!

I also made one last batch of homemade ice cream. You didn’t think I would pass up my final opportunity to make it this year, did you? And let me tell you – this recipe is definitely a keeper.

Peach and Toasted Pecan Ice Cream  

Makes about 1 quart

3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup peeled and coarsely chopped peaches
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a large heavy saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk and whipping cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 10 to 12 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat.
2. Whisk egg yolk until slightly thickened. Gradually whisk about 1 cup hot cream mixture into yolk. Add yolk mixture to remaining cream mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in vanilla bean paste. Cool 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
3. Meanwhile, cook peaches and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 4 to 5 minutes. Coarsely mash, and let cool 30 minutes. Stir peach mixture into cooled cream mixture.
4. Place plastic wrap directly on cream mixture, and chill 8 to 24 hours (I chilled mine for about 6 hours and it was fine).
5. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; add pecans, and cook, stirring constantly, 8 to 9 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat, and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. kosher salt. Cool completely (about 30 minutes).
6. Pour chilled cream mixture into freezer container of a 1 1/2-qt. electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. (Instructions and time may vary.) Before transferring ice cream to an airtight container for further freezing, stir in pecan mixture.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living.


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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…


Kinley played a lot of fetch.


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.


Cute husband.


Spiderman husband.


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?


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


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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Recipe Review: Lattice-Top Fresh Peach Pie

I had to go to Landrum, SC one day for work last week and stopped at Peach Country while I was out that way. Peach Country is basically a mega, roadside produce stand in Campobello, SC that’s open a few months of the year. As I sipped on one of their delicious peach slushes while looking at all the different kinds of peaches (who knew there were 7+ different varieties?), I decided to buy a pint of fresh blueberries, and two bags of peaches – one for cooking and one for eating.

Andrew and I went to the lake last weekend with my extended family on my mom’s side. My cousin was home from the Marines, so it was the perfect time for everyone to get together for a day at the lake. It was the perfect time to use my fresh peaches to make a peach pie. I found a recipe on Cook’s Illustrated and got to work.

The original recipe called for a homemade pie crust, but in my opinion, pie crusts are a lot of work and the difference between homemade and store-bought is not big enough for me to do all that work. I’m a big fan of Pillsbury pre-made pie crust.

Lattice-Top Fresh Peach Pie

Serves 8

6 – 7 medium peaches (ripe, about 6 cups)
1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1 lemon
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
pinch ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch table salt
3–4 tablespoons potato starch (or substitute pulverized Minute tapioca)

Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust (1 package = 2 crusts)

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Bring 3 quarts water to boil in large saucepan, and fill large bowl with 2 quarts cold water and 2 trays ice cubes.

To peel peaches; first, with a paring knife, score a small x at the base of each peach. Next, lower the peaches into boiling water with a slotted skimmer. Cover and blanch until their skins loosen, about 2 minutes. Use a slotted skimmer to remove the peaches to ice water and let stand to stop cooking, about 1 minute. Finally, cool the peaches, then, starting from the scored x, peel each peach, halve and pit it, and cut into 3/8-inch slices. Toss peach slices, lemon juice, 1 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and potato starch or Minute tapioca (3 tablespoons for moderately juicy peaches, 4 tablespoons for very juicy ones) in medium bowl.

Put 1 pre-made crust into 9 inch pie plate.  Put peach mixture on top of crust. Use the other crust to form lattice top and place on top of peaches. Lightly brush lattice top with 1 tablespoon water and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Place pie on baking sheet and bake until crust is set and begins to brown, about 25 minutes. Rotate pie and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees; continue to bake until crust is deep golden brown and filling is bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes longer. Cool on wire rack 2 hours before serving.


Recipes from Cook’s Illustrated might not always be the quickest, easiest recipes, but I know that they’ll always be good. This recipe required a little more work – blanching, peeling the peaches, etc. – but it’s a lot easier if you use pre-made dough. It was definitely worth it in the end. I’ll be adding this to my list of go-to summer recipes.

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Recipe Review: Cake Batter Ice Cream

As I sat down to write this post, I realized that Andrew and I have had homemade ice cream the past four weekends in the row. We only made it two of those four weekends and had it at family get togethers the other two weekends. I told you my craving for ice cream is out of control in the summer.

We made Cake Batter Ice Cream a few weekends ago and it was so good. Some people think Cake Batter Ice Cream is too sweet, but fortunately I don’t share those feelings. I found this recipe on food.com and made a few adjustments that I’ve included in italics below.

Cake Batter Ice Cream

10 1/2 cup servings

1 cup whole milk, well chilled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, well chilled (Instead of using 2 cups heavy cream and 1 cup whole milk, I just used 3 cups of half and half)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Funfetti)

Optional: Funfetti frosting

Place freezer bowl of ice cream maker into the freezer. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla to taste. Stir in cake mix, making sure there are no lumps. Pour mixture into the freezer bowl and let mix until it has thickened (about 25-30 minutes). Remove ice cream from freezer bowl and place into a separate container.* Place  ice cream in the freezer to further harden.

*Note: I decided to add in little pieces of frozen Funfetti frosting to the ice cream right before I put the ice cream in a separate container. While the ice cream was freezing in the ice cream maker, I put some frosting in a Ziploc bag , piped it on a baking sheet, and popped it in the freezer for half an hour. Once the ice cream was done, I got the frozen pieces off the baking sheet with a spatula and gently stirred them in before putting everything in a freezer to harden a little more.


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Happy First Day of Summer!

Even though it’s felt like summer for a few weeks around here (minus all the rain we’ve gotten), today is first official day of summer. Andrew and I made a summer bucket list a few weeks ago and I thought I would share some of our ideas with you…

  1. Go on a hike
  2. Read a few books – some fun/fictional books and some non-fiction/learning books
  3. Make fruit cobbler (already did this once – many more to come)
  4. Make homemade ice cream at least 3 times (we are making some tonight!)
  5. Get a Peach Milkshake from Chick-fil-a
  6. Try to have friends over for dinner every other week (we are on track so far)
  7. Play tennis…should be interesting
  8. Go swing dancing
  9. Play Monopoly (this one was Andrew’s idea – not too excited about this one haha). 
  10. Have multiple picnics in the park
  11. Take advantage of the Swamp Rabbit Trail. 

The Swamp Rabbit Trail is a former railroad track that has been transformed into a 17.5 mile multi-use trail. Since the trail is basically in our back yard, we want to take full advantage of it while we’re living downtown. We frequently run or take walks along the trail, and I want to continue to do that throughout the summer. There are also plenty of grassy areas along the trail that are perfect for picnics. We packed a lunch the other week and found a nice spot to picnic, but unfortunately, our dreamy afternoon ended with us running back to our house to escape the torrential downpour that came out of nowhere. Next time we’ll check the forecast. 

ImageI snapped this photo  a few weeks ago when Andrew and I walked downtown to get some ice cream one night. So lush and green.

Anyone have a summer bucket list? 


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