Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

IMG_6793Key limes. Lots and lots of them.  You see, I got this craving for key lime pie and didn’t exactly want to spend the hours waiting for pie crust to rest, so obviously I made it into ice cream.  Super simple ice cream that doesn’t require making a custard beforehand, because we have already established how little patience I have.  This is the most decadent, tart, and wonderful substitute for a slice of key lime pie. It may not be as good as the slice of heaven from Rick’s Dessert Diner in midtown Sacramento, but it’s close, and that’s just fine with me. 

IMG_6821My kitchen partner-in-crime trudged over to my house with electric ice cream maker in hand to aid in making this magnificent creation.  We zested each painfully small lime and then realized that juicing them gave us a measly drop of juice per half. By all means, feel free to use bottled key lime juice – I love Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key Lime Juice, if you want a short cut. This recipe already only takes about ten minutes of mixing the base before freezing, but the easier the better!  IMG_6717

This recipe reminds me of the long summer we get in California, spent walking around with my pups. Ladybug sat patiently and modeled as I took in yet another incredible sunset on the American River.   Night after night, it’s this incredible.  This summer has been so relaxing, being able to spend it with family and adventuring around the country.  I hope this recipe reminds you of something sweet and summery. If not, what reminds you of summer? What do you have left to cross of your summer bucket list? Let me know it the comments below! 

IMG_6789Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

1 ½ cup Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 ½ cup Heavy Whipping Cream

1 cup Key Lime Juice

2 T Lime Zest

Graham Crackers to garnish

Mix condensed milk, cream and lime juice together in medium sized bowl. Add zest and mix thoroughly.  (Note: you may need to double recipe if your freezer is larger than 4 Quarts).

Make sure paddle is sat in groove before placing top on canister. I always use a layer of plastic wrap to make sure no rock salt ruins the ice cream mixture in the process.  Layer ice and rock salt around canister and follow instructions on maker to freeze.  If you’re using a hand crank mixer, when the handle gets hard to turn, the mixture is frozen.  For the motorized freezers, make sure to listen to the motor so it does not overheat.  

Serve with a graham cracker for garnish & enjoy! 

Pineapple Coconut Popsicles + The Liebster Award

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Summer and popsicles. That’s the way life should be lived. Even in sticky, 104º weather, popsicles have a power to solve problems.  These little creations, adapted from A Cozy Kitchen’s Mango Cardamom and Sweet Coconut Popsicles, are wonderful for hot days like these, and even look good while cooling you off. And even if you can’t be relaxing on a tropical beach somewhere (which I most certainly am not), just close your eyes and relax with a pop, and bam! you’re there. Okay, maybe I didn’t create a teleportation device, but it’s as close to the tropics as I can get for now. 

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I played around with the original recipe just a tad, substituting pineapple instead of mango, for a different flavor but still delicious. They’re incredibly easy to make, but require patience for the freezing time – and maybe borrowing your best friend’s time and popsicle molds (thank you Cat) – but they are so worth it! 

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Pineapple Coconut Popsicles

1 Pineapple

¼ cup Orange Juice

¼ + ⅓ cup granulated sugar

pinch of salt

1 ½ cup lite coconut milk

½ t ground cardamom

¼ cup sweetened shredded coconut

Core and cut up the pineapple into chunks to fit in a blender. Add the orange juice, ¼ cup sugar, and pinch of salt and blend. Strain the mixture to take out the bits of unwanted core, making sure to push the pulp around to get as much out as possible. Pour pineapple mixture into molds until half way up, tilting mold on a ramekin to get the geometric design. Freeze for two hours.

Mix the coconut milk, cardamom, shredded coconut and ⅓ cup sugar until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture over the frozen pineapple, removing ramekins, so the mold stands up.  Place popsicle sticks in the molds, making sure to reach the pineapple layer for sturdiness. 

Freeze for two more hours and release by running hot water on the side.  Enjoy and maybe share a bit with peering eyes like Ella because the puppy dog eyes take no prisoners.

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It’s been just over one month since I started this blog and attempted to understand everything about the internet world that goes along with it.  Woah, a whole month! *Yay! Bravo!* In the past month I’ve noticed that this blog thing is basically people expressing themselves through these little posts and then starting conversations with those who feel the same way – and that is great! Because even though our world has been technologified (yes, I just created that word), the art of conversation seems to be present in a new way.  

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So, in effort to keep the conversation going and expanding the blogging world, here are a few things about me. A big thanks to the lovely Carolyn who nominated me for the Liebster Award and to answer these questions! 

1. What inspired you to begin blogging?

I decided to start this in effort to keep family and friends updated on my travels this upcoming fall, however I have always wanted to create a food blog and this seemed like the perfect time. Plus, it’s an excuse to try new recipes and get up a travel a bit more!

2.  What is your favorite quote?

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only things that ever has” – Margaret Mead

3.  Favourite place to shop?
 
I love Zara, Jcrew, Madewell – basically anything that sells comfortable clothes that make it seem like you know a little something about fashion.
 
4.  What’s your go to comfort food when you’re ill?
 
My mom’s slow cooked applesauce with all the glorious apple pieces can solve any issue in my life, big or small.
 
5.  If you could road trip around any country where would it be?
 
I sometimes forget that the United States is so massive and filled with beautiful scenery, so a road trip around the borders would be wonderful and definitely do-able! 
 
6.  If you could have a meal with anyone famous (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
 
I would love to share a meal with the amazing Jane Goodall to learn more about her passion for preservation and how she grew awareness for a vital cause.  
 
7. What is your favorite musical experience (i.e. concert, festival)?
 
Last year I attended Outside Lands in San Francisco with my whole family and it was filled with dancing, delicious food and lots of fun. We listened to Paul McCartney, Vampire Weekend and introduced my parents to Zedd – all together a great trip.
 
I’d like to nominate: SlowboatA Collection of AdventuresSuzieWho, The Trip, Fifi’s Looking Glass and Steph Eusebi to answer these questions, so we can learn more about each other and bring the blogging world closer! 
The rules are to 1) thank the blogger than nominated you, and link back to them 2) answer the questions they sent you 3) nominate bloggers with less than 200 followers to answer the questions 4) notify the bloggers you have nominated them.
 
Thanks again for sticking with me this past month guys! Even if you weren’t nominated, answer one of these questions in the comments, and let’s get the conversation started! 

Cousins by the Dozens

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Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: whatever it is and whoever you are, you need one.  In my immediate family of five, it’s hard for us to come together under one roof for a few weeks in a year, simply because of our spread out cities. From those standards, this past weekend was quite the miracle.  Not only did all five members meet up, an additional 44 cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents made their way to Keystone, Colorado for a reunion that was the definition of pure happiness.

See, these 49 people that bustled in and out of the small resort town may not be my siblings, but we sure feel like it when we’re all together. If a stranger were to have walked in to our cabin, they would be welcomed with open arms – because that’s the family I’ve been blessed with. This little band of characters that I’m incredibly lucky to have been raised with flows with compassion, love, and lots of laughter.

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With the action that comes with having dozens of cousins, there was no way to capture a posed and coordinated photo. Somehow, I’m okay with that. Because as the music was playing, the fire pit on, and the chatter and laughter ringing through the meadow, I stood twenty feet from the chaos and saw the image of pure happiness. We might not see each other every day or even once a year, but when we come together, family picks up right where we left off.

So during the long weekend, my maybe-not-so-little merry group of family and I found ourselves on hikes, rounds of golf, and bluegrass festivals. On a small group hike, we ran into a budding thunderstorm as we trekked back, leaving us sprinkled with rain and hearing the boom of thunder in the town over. We made it to the cars just before the rain down poured, however, the golfers who had tee’d off earlier found themselves drenched to the bone and still sporting winning smiles.

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This weekend was filled with happy moments – but here are just a few.  There was the time when we danced (and sang) the night away while listening to a 90s playlist. There was the time when we video chatted our hard working cousin with a massive happy birthday song.  There was the time when we fit way too many cousins in one car.  There was the time that a mouse running wild in our cabin created shrieks but eventually laughter. Each and every second from this weekend reminded me of the blessing that family is. We all take family for granted every once and while, but it’s in moments like these that my heart feels at home.

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We might be a little too silly, rowdy or big, but this group of musicians, doctors, students, and whatever else you can think of means the world to me. I don’t even mind that these last few paragraphs have been filled with the cheesiest lines because this group brings it out in me, and that’s just fine. A weekend well spent in an insanely beautiful town of Colorado, if you ask me.  What are your favorite memories or adventures with family? Leave a comment!

Summer Jams

There’s not much better than a hot piece of toast with fresh jam and a cup of joe. Especially after a night when the Netflix-binge watching forces kept my eyes open for a few hours too late (thank you Orange Is The New Black), toast and coffee is a slice of heaven. There’s just something about a lazy morning spent at the table and the commotion of a household continuing on around while your head gets cleared.  It’s not that I have too much going on in life right now, rather the complete opposite.  In the absence of stressful college courses, my thoughts wander around the adventures I’ll soon be on and the path it could lead me down.  The dwindling countdown to my flight beginning my semester abroad seems to flit in and out of my mind and then the surreal-ness of it all crashes in waves. Poetic, right? Anyways, back to jam – jam is good. So are classic summer tunes.

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Jam making once was just a chore so the summer surplus could be enjoyed in the dead cold of winter and still is – but I seriously enjoy an afternoon spent canning and listening to a strange mix of old and new songs.  So when the boys of the household left for the day, my mom and I found ourselves leaving the farmer’s market armed with fifteen pounds of peaches and five crates of blackberries. A few years back I decided to have my Grandma teach me how to can, since she grew up making preserves in the York, Nebraska summertime – and to say the least, we’ve gone a bit jam crazy.

This weekend, we ended up with fifty-four jars of peach and blackberry vanilla jam.  I know what you’re thinking, fifty-four jars – who in their right mind needs that much jam!? There’s two explanations for this 1) my mom and I certainly aren’t always in our right minds and 2) homemade jam makes an excellent gift.  There are so many recipes online that detail the correct steps in canning, so I won’t bore you with the details, but I’ll add in a few tips I’ve taken from my Grandma’s book and jamming experiences.

  • Always make sure the lids, rings and jars are sterilized and hot – otherwise the seal just won’t happen
  • Listen for the ‘pop’ letting you know the cans have been properly sealed
  • Pectin works for fruits low in it naturally (hello blackberries), but nothing beats the flavor of naturally thickened jam
  • Keep your kitchen clean during the process because organization is key
  • Adding thinly sliced lemon to preserves brings the jam to a whole new level

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For the variations on the classic berry jam, my mom and I added one grated cooking apple (for the natural pectin) and two scraped vanilla beans to each three cups of prepared fruit. The turn out was a slightly thin jam but the aroma was laced with pleasant vanilla and fresh berries.  As for the peach jam, we kept it simple with eight cups fruit and six cups sugar – believe it or not, that’s the low-sugar recipe. Lemon juice is used for the natural preservative and, as the recipe calls for, one box of pectin was the thickening agent.

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Although jam making is a tedious and messy process (thanks ultimate cleaner/mom!), it’s well worth the wait. Then when that impending morning light floods through the blinds, you can pad down the hallway and reward yourself with that crisp toast and delectable jam served alongside the steaming french roast.

And if the day needs a pick-me-up a little bit later, throw on some classic Jack Johnson or one of my new favorite finds, Sam Garrett and his easy going acoustic music.  And when the stress has been reduced and five o’clock rolls around, nothing beats busting out Earth, Wind & Fire for a impromptu dance party…because those are just the best.  What’s playing on your mix tape and what are the adventures you’re seeking out this summer? Let me know in the comments below!

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