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  1. Sunday, June 10, 2012

    Week 281 Menu

    Good morning!

    Not much to say this week except, as usual, I can’t believe another week has blown by!

    – Paninis (probably turkey since we have some in the fridge!)

    Homemade pizza

    – Slow Cooker Chicken Curry (recipe to come on the website)
    – Rice

    – Grilled chicken teriyaki (drumsticks)
    – Rice and lots of veggies

    – Leftovers

    – Eat out – it’s the big dance recital day for the girls!

    – Breakfast for dinner as usual!

    As always, your menus from last week were SO helpful in planning my menu for this week. Don’t know what I’d do without you people! THANK YOU! Can’t wait to see what you come up with this week! Remember, any menu is welcome to be shared…we don’t care if it is fancy or not!

  2. Friday, June 8, 2012

    Ah, Carmel…

    I know I told you that I was going to share the best chocolate ice cream ever today, but, well, I hopped in my car yesterday and went to Carmel. Just like that. I mean, I had a friend to visit, but it was a last minute trip. And I’m so glad we did it because we got to watch this sunset over Pebble Beach…

    …and eat this food for dinner at Little Napoli.

    P.S. If you ever get yourself to Little Napoli (which you should), that cannelloni tricolore is amazing. Just sayin’.

    And so, my friends, the ice cream recipe will come next week. Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. Wednesday, June 6, 2012

    Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

    Back when I first got my ice cream maker, I was addicted to making frozen yogurt. It’s just so easy and fast to throw together…and it is sooooo yummy. But I wasn’t all that convinced that making homemade ice cream was worth the trouble. I made it a few times, but the recipe I was using (which came from a reputable ice cream source, by the way) left something to be desired…there was a bit of a greasy after-feel and, I don’t know, it was just good, not great.

    I decided last week to give homemade ice cream another try. I searched for recipes on the Internet, didn’t really find one that pulled me in, and then I remembered my Cook’s Illustrated cookbook sitting on the shelf. I felt confident that they would have a good ice cream recipe and decided I would use it, even before reviewing it.

    Up until the moment we ate the stuff I was still wondering if it was worth the work. Making the ice cream takes time and planning. As I stood at the stove stirring and stirring and stirring, I just wasn’t so sure it would be worth it.

    And then. THEN. We ate the ice cream. It was totally worth it. This recipe kicks you-know-what. Flavor? Fantastic. Texture? Creamy and dreamy. Even after sitting in the freezer a few days, the ice cream never got icy. It was miraculous. I’m making it again for sure…I even bought more cream and whole milk today to make more!

    Tomorrow I will share the chocolate ice cream recipe I tried, which was equally as delicious. Mmmmmmmmm…

    Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
    From the Cook’s Illustrated cookbook
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Serves: 1 quart
    • 1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract (I used Penzey’s vanilla extract)
    • 1¾ cups heavy cream
    • 1¼ cups whole milk
    • ½ plus 2 tablespoons (4½ ounces) sugar
    • ⅓ cup light corn syrup
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 6 large egg yolks
    1. Place an 8 or 9 inch metal baking pan in the freezer.
    2. If using vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise. Using tip of paring knife, scrape out vanilla seeds. Combine vanilla bean, seeds, cream, milk, 6 tablespoons sugar, corn syrup, and salt in medium saucepan. Heat over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is steaming steadily and registers 175 degrees, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat. (Jane note: mine wasn’t steaming all that steadily, just a bit, but I took it off the heat once it hit 175 degrees. PS”¦if you don’t have an instant read electronic thermometer, you should get that along with your Cook’s Illustrated cookbook.)
    3. While cream mixture heats, whisk egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar in bowl until smooth, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk 1 cup heated cream mixture into egg yolks mixture. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and registers 180 degrees, 7 to 14 minutes. (Jane note: I think I only went to about 178 degrees”¦it seems like mine got stuck there, so I got impatient and called it a day at that point.) Immediately pour custard into large bowl and let cool until no longer steaming, 10-20 minutes. Transfer 1 cup custard to small bowl. Cover both bowls with plastic wrap. Place large bowl in refrigerator and small bowl in freezer and let cool completely, at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. (Small bowl of custard will freeze solid.) (Jane note: I don’t think my small bowl was frozen completely solid, but it was frozen for sure.)
    4. Remove custards from fridge and freezer. Scrape frozen custard from small bowl into large bowl of custard. Stir occasionally until frozen custard has fully dissolved. (Jane note: I just realized I didn’t even read this step”¦I just mixed them together until it was pretty evenly mixed, but not dissolved, and then tossed it in the ice cream machine”¦no waiting arround.) Strain custard through fine-mesh strainer and transfer to ice cream machine. (Jane note: again, I totally didn’t read this part of the directions”¦didn’t do the strainer! Everything was fine, but it’s probably best to strain in case you get some lumps while cooking the custard.) Churn until mixture resembles thick soft-serve ice cream and registers about 21 degrees, 15-25 minutes. Transfer to metal pan, and press plastic wrap on surface. Freeze for 1 hour until edges are firm, then pack into a storage container with tight fitting lid and store in freezer up to 5 days. (Jane note: Cook’s Illustrated recommends freezing an additional 2 hours at this point”¦of course it’s delicious when it’s totally frozen, but it is also delicious ever step of the way! We totally ate it right when it was done churning”¦and we also ate it later after freezing. It was awesome both ways!) Can be frozen up to 5 days.

  4. Tuesday, June 5, 2012

    Quick and Cute Teacher Gift Idea

    Today I wanted to share a teacher thank you gift idea that I used this week and ended up really loving. My friend Amy from Living Locurto shared this super cute blog post with me a month or so ago. It’s a plant with a cute gift tag that says “Thank you for helping me grow this year!” Amy provides a free printable and I love that it’s super cute, quick and thoughtful. I pinned the post straightaway, knowing I would be using it come June!

    I did in fact end up using Amy’s idea and to great success! I was just going to use her cute printable, but I decided I wanted to incorporate the girls’ photos and card-making skills, so I changed it up a bit. Here’s what I did!

    1. I took the girls to our local garden center and let them choose small plants for their teachers.

    2. I picked up some old school, wooden rulers at Target.

    3. I turned the card into a growing flower on a ruler…get it? grow? growth? measurement? teachers? rulers? flowers growing? Super cute, right? 😉 Anyway, for each card I cut out two identical flowers out of cardstock, glued a photo of my daughters cut into circles on the center of the flower, then glued the flower to the ruler, with the ruler glued between the two flower pieces. Did you catch those annoyingly-written directions? This is why I am not a crafty DIY blogger.

    4. I gave the girls the cards and let them decorate the flowers however they want. We wrote “Thank you for helping me grow!” on the back and then stuck the rulers into the plants. Voila! Instant super cute teacher thank you gift!

    The girls’ teachers loved their gifts. Wanna hear something funny? Cate’s teacher gave all of the mom volunteers a card – the card was a giant sunflower, with each petal being a note from each child in the class. Can you guess what the center of the flower said? “Thank you for helping us grow this year!” We both laughed when we saw each other’s cards. We decided that great minds really do think alike! 😉

    Thanks for the inspiration, Amy! Happy teacher gifting, everyone!

  5. Sunday, June 3, 2012

    Week 280 Menu

    How is it the end of the school year already? And how can it be JUNE two thousand TWELVE? Someone tell Father Time to slow things down. I can’t keep up.

    All of our end-of-the-school-year activities kept us super busy last week, so we didn’t make our soups like we had planned, so they’re back on the menu. By the way, I was so happy to read all of your comments last week and learn that I am not the only one having issues with the Tooth Fairy’s reliability. I think we’ve proven that she’s overworked and maybe needs to outsource some of her responsibilities. Perhaps she could rely on the parents for some help? 😉 (By the way, I loved all your comments…so funny!)

    Cream of Mushroom Soup

    – Leftovers or eat out…it’s going to be a busy day, no time for cooking unfortunately!

    Tuscan Tomato Soup

    Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches

    – Leftovers

    – Eat out

    – Breakfast for Dinner…omelettes!

    Yup, it’s that time…time for me to beg for your menus! Come on, post your menu for the week! You know you want to. 😉

  6. Friday, June 1, 2012

    ANOTHER Crescent Roll Recipe…I’m obsessed, what can I say?

    So, the baby shower I told you about this week? When I said that I ate myself silly at that party, I wasn’t kidding. And we’re not going to talk about it. But I will at least admit to eating more than one of the crescent rolls.

    Okay, so I make darn good crescent rolls. Our family can eat several dozen in a matter of, well, day…that is not a typo, I literally mean one day. Anyway, the rolls are amazing, but they aren’t that great when they’re cold. I always have to heat them up a bit before eating the leftovers.

    Well, my friend Emily made crescent rolls for the baby shower that were cold and still amazingly delicious! When I called to ask her for the recipe, she said the same thing…this recipe is great because the rolls are actually still tasty when they’re NOT hot out of the oven! I made them today…and they were delish as expected!

    The other fun bonus to this recipe is you can freeze the rolls prior to baking. I am so excited to have two dozen homemade rolls waiting in the freezer for another day!

    Quick note: The batch that Emily made were a little denser and better…I think I might have let my rolls rise a little too long, so I would suggest maybe not letting them rise too long, so not quite double in size.

    Mom's White Roll Recipe, aka Crescent Rolls That Are Still Yummy Cold
    Emily Deans is my friend and this is her mother-in-law's recipe.
    • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
    • ⅓ cup very warm water
    • 9 cups flour
    • 2 cups warm milk
    • 1 cup butter, melted in the milk
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 6 large eggs
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • softened butter for middle and tops
    1. Dissolve yeast in very warm water.
    2. Add warmed milk mixed with melted butter to a large bowl (I made the dough in my KitchenAid stand mixer, so the large bowl was my KitchenAid bowl). Add 4 cups of the flour to the milk-butter.
    3. Whisk together eggs, sugar and salt. Add to the flour-milk mixture along with the yeast and mix well. Add the last 5 cups of flour. Mix, adding additional flour if needed until dough pulls away from side of bowl, but dough is still sticky. Attach the dough hook and knead in the mixer until dough is elastic.
    4. Place dough into a greased bowl and let rise until doubled, about 1½ hours.
    5. Divide dough into four parts. Roll each piece out into a 12-in circle and spread with butter. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the circle into 12 triangles (or 16 if you want smaller rolls). Roll pieces into crescents.
    6. Choose your own adventure time...
    7. If you want your rolls now, place on an ungreased cookie sheet and let rise until not double (remember my note from before? I let them double in size and it was too long, so don't let them rise that long, but long enough...I know, helpful). Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes, then brush the tops with melted butter.
    8. If you want to freeze the rolls for later, place the rolled up triangles close together on a greased cookie sheet then freeze. Place frozen rolls in a Ziploc bag. When you are ready to cook the rolls, take out of the freezer, place the rolls on an ungreased cookie sheet and let sit 3-4 hours, then bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes, then brush the tops with melted butter.

    And, because I love people’s recipe cards, here is what Emily emailed to me. I have to post it since it’s all yellow and folded up and loved and stuff.