Thursday, August 28, 2014

Recent Obsession with Homemade Ice Cream

Anyone who really knows me understands that I have a weakness for ice cream. As far as I'm concerned, life doesn't get any better than a bowl of cold, creamy, chocolatey goodness. Any bad day can be survived and any good day becomes more fantastic with ice cream. Yeah, I know it's not considered healthy to have a comfort food, but it does come in handy to have something that can reliably make me happy when I desperately need it. There have definitely been days during the past couple years of medical school when Austin prescribed ice cream. What a smart guy! It works every time. It's oh so magical!

In a stroke of genius last week, I decided to pull out my KitchenAid ice cream maker. Last time I endeavored to make homemade ice cream was somewhat disappointing. Luckily, this time I stumbled across a couple of amazing recipes online and it turned out great! It was better than the store bought stuff - like on par with Ben and Jerry's!

I was planning on taking some of my homemade ice cream to a dinner party with friends, but Austin begged me not to. This is a big deal for Austin, since he is 1. Not a sweet tooth 2. Lactose intolerant. In five years of marriage, I have tried to no avail to get him excited about ice cream. It was so rewarding to see his eyes widen as he took that first bite of the butter pecan. "Wow, that's good!" he exclaimed. He then suggested that we only eat one spoonful a day after dinner so that it would last longer. If only I had that much self control... Needless to say, we will definitely make this again!

Chocolate Ice Cream (food network)
  • 1 1/2 oz unsweetened cocoa powder (approximately 1/2 cup)
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 9 oz sugar (a little over 1 cup)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Place the cocoa powder along with 1 cup of the half-and-half into a medium saucepan over medium heat and whisk to combine. Add the remaining half-and-half and the heavy cream. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and remove from the heat.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the sugar and whisk to combine. Temper the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar by gradually adding small amounts until about 1/3 of the cream mixture has been added. Pour in the remainder and return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon and reaches 170-175 degrees F. Pour the mixture into the refrigerator and once it is cool enough not to form condensation on the lid, cover and store for 4-8 hours. 

Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions. This should take appx. 25-35 minutes. Serve as is for soft serve or freeze for another 3-4 hours to harden.

Butter Pecan Ice Cream (allrecipes)


  1. In a small skillet over medium heat, cook pecans in butter until lightly browned and fragrant, stirring constantly, about 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Whisk eggs in a mixing bowl; set aside. Combine brown sugar and half and half in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; remove from heat. Gradually pour hot mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. Return custard to saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture coats the back of a spoon (see Editor's Note). Remove from heat and stir in cream, vanilla, and pecans.
  3. Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers' directions.

Lydia Being her Happy Bouncy Self

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lydia Singing and Swimming

We had such a fun time with our friends and neighbors at the lunch bunch last week. Lydia got her bathing suit all muddy and so I put on her clothes thinking we would be done splashing in the  kiddie pool. How silly of me to think that I could stop a force of nature! I don't think I'll be able to save her outfit, but at least she had a blast :)

There is no wonder why I love these two! Hearing them sing before bedtime always melts my heart. Lydia really is starting to get the words down!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Cheesy Post (The WI State Fair)

The Wisconsin State Fair is a fat man's paradise. Ok, maybe that's not the most politically correct thing to say, but I think it's a requirement for everything there to be deep fried and served on a stick. It's the perfect excuse to put that future diet on hold just a little longer to binge on anything and everything that is likely to kill you someday. But it's delicious, so worth it, right? At least we ended up having to park a mile and a half away, which kinda makes up for those incredible deep fried bacon wrapped tater tots.

As always, Brynlee was in awe of all the hustle and bustle and was content as long as I was holding her. (At least she consented to being in the stroller during the long walk to and from the fair). That girl loves to intently stare at people - and let me tell you, the fair is the BEST place for people watching! 

This stand caught my eye. Believe it or not, Austin's had a Krispy Kreme burger. (I believe he earned a dollar for eating it.) It sounds terrible to me. But it definitely fits the unhealthy criteria to become fair food, so I can't say that I'm surprised it's a thing.

Lydia loved the wildlife conservation center which had some turtles and frogs that she could look at. The big hit was the camping play area where she could walk around with fake food and bring them into the mini tents. (We'll teach her about the dangers of that later.)

Lydia loved the teepee! Once upon a time she was terrified of them.

Brynlee was pretty upset that I wouldn't share my deep-fried cookie dough with her. I can't blame her, it was delicious! Poor girl!

Besides the deep-fried bacon wrapped tater tots and deep-fried cookie dough, we had a massive pickle, mexican style corn, and a bratwurst. So So Good! If only my stomach could have handled more food. There were a million other things I wanted to try. 

Lydia loved looking at the bunnies. She bounced up and down the aisles while taking a break every now and then to peek in at them and say: 'hop hop bunny, hop!'

It might take my stomach a year to recuperate. Then I will go back to the fair and fill up on cheese curds and everything deep-fried to make myself sick all over again. It's a deliciously tragic cycle. Anyway, we had fun! Ironically, although we grumbled about having to park so far away, the long walk back to the car was one of the highlights for us as both girls were happy and the twilight sky was vibrant with wispy clouds highlighted in pink. It was a beautiful day! I can't wait for next year!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Visiting Family and Wisconsin Dells!

Grandpa, Grandma, and Eliza flew out to Milwaukee to visit Lydia and Brynn this past week. Boy were my girls excited to see them! We had a blast at the Kalahari in Wisconsin Dells. From water slides to wildlife, there is definitely no shortage of things to do there! We had a lot of fun and it was neat being able to see my folks and share a little bit of Wisconsin with them. Austin finally got a Spreckers rootbeer for my dad. (Rootbeer and ice cream are his favorite treats, so I had a feeling he would love Wisconsin.) My only regret is that we were too tired to make it to the state fair before everyone had to leave. I wonder if cheese curds would survive priority mail? It was sad saying good-bye earlier today, but I'm so happy that they came to visit. Lydia has been calling out 'Papa, are you?!' Poor girl. They will be missed...

This isn't exactly related to my post, but isn't Brynn cute? It took her a while to warm up to rice cereal. Surprisingly enough, she likes green beans more than anything now. This would be her 'Mom, where's my food!' face. She has the most intense stare I've ever seen in a baby!

And when she's not being a little grump, she has the sweetest gummy smile I've ever seen :)

After church on Sunday, we went to the park right off of Lake Michigan. I think it's one of the most beautiful places in Milwaukee. I'm glad I got to share it with them.  

Daddy is Lydia's best buddy!

Getting ready to go!

Brynlee spent some quality time with Grandma at the waterpark

Lydia was pretty angry that she couldn't touch the ground while in this bouncy chair. That is pretty much a cruel form of torture for this girl. Needless to say, she didn't last long in there.

Brynn didn't know what to think!

I'm sure Lydia must have set some sort of record for how many times she went down this blue slide without taking a break or getting bored. This child must be related to the energy bunny. I was anxious that she was going to hurt herself cause she kept trying to jump while at the top of the slide. Keeping up with Lydia is never an easy task. It was definitely worth seeing her so happy, though!

I wasn't allowed to take pictures by them, but there were two baby tigers in an exhibit as you walked into the main building. As we were coming in one time, we walked right past someone transporting the tiger cubs and they were holding them like they were sweet little puppies in their arms. They were so so cute and playful. I loved the Kalahari's African safari theme!

Getting ready for another day of water fun!

Luckily Lydia loved the outdoor water swing

This was how I found Brynn after coming back from a water slide run with Liza. (My dad had been watching her.) I was kinda afraid that she was dead there for a moment... How is it that she will nap like that but not on her back in a crib?

The Kalahari had a free cookie decorating contest

Pretty sure Lydia wins an award for face decorating

Lydia loves sitting on Papa's lap and reading books

The second night that we were there, we went to the Tommy Bartlet show off the lake and saw some INCREDIBLE water skiing stunts. Lydia didn't understand that they were supposed to be flipping around and was very worried about the athletes. She loved Aqua the clown but kept saying "uh oh, owie!" whenever he wiped out on purpose. She is such a sympathetic little girl.

This was Lydia's favorite stunt which she called the 'fire kite'

The Kalahari also gave us free tickets for the Timbavati Wildlife Park. It was pretty awesome!

I had never seen a white tiger before. It was so cool!

Just chillin next to my friend Cosmo

Yes, we are actually feeding the giraffes carrots! Lydia may have taken a few bites out of the giraffe food before she realized what she was actually supposed to be doing with them. She loved it! 

Giraffes have the most amazing tongues! They were like massive slobbery worms that would wriggle around trying to find carrots. And they are so long...

Hello cute girl!
Note that 'Kittia' (Lydia's stuffed animal) gets a front row seat while Brynlee is stuck in the back...

Lydia's second favorite animal, next to the giraffe, was the tiger. I'm pretty sure that "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" has something to do with that.

Lemurs also have pretty cool tongues

I don't know what that was exactly, but it was cute :)

Feeding a baby zebra - it was so soft and fluffy!

My first pig race! The announcer used so many pig jokes that it hurt. Lindey Lo'ham' won this race. Arnold Schwarz'ham'negger won the next...

Driving through the Dells is so much fun! I love seeing all the different themes for water parks! This one looked especially cool.

I'd better start training for the zombie apocalypse now cause I'm pretty sure I wouldn't last five minutes!

We finished our trip by breaking out the dance moves!

Thanks for visiting Gamma, Papa, and Liza. We had so much fun with you!