Friday, May 29, 2015

foodie friday : homemade ice cream

I didn't really want to do dessert recipes 2 weeks in a row... but it is officially summer in SC and everyone needs ice cream.  Stat!

My family has always been big on homemade ice cream every summer.  We always made the base for whatever flavor we wanted the same way... and I never knew that a lot of other people use eggs in their's.  So this no-egg for the kid momma is happy to keep things traditional around here.  

Growing up, ice cream was churned out on the deck.  When I decided I wanted my own ice cream maker a few years ago... I did the same thing.  Until I realized that the melting salted ice was spilling onto the 2 decks below our's at our apartment.  So I noisily made different flavor combinations in my kitchen sink.  Pumpkin cheesecake, key lime pie, peach ice cream... just to name a few.  And then we moved and I forgot about it.

Until last weekend.  A couple from our small group invited us to their house for burgers so I enthusiastically decided I would bring some ice cream.  The flavor was the only decision to make.  After much deliberation, I decided on chocolate banana.  

homemade chocolate banana ice cream. 
by: homegrowninky

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup sugar
1 box chocolate instant pudding
half gallon 1% chocolate milk
2 very ripe bananas...mashed well

I combine all of the ingredients... filling the freezer container to the fill line with however much chocolate milk it takes (not quite the entire half gallon).  Make sure to have plenty of ice in your freezer.  I almost ran out!  And ice cream salt to help get everything as cold as possible!  As you can tell from the 2nd photo, it is really soft ice cream; which is great, but I froze it overnight to firm up for Sunday dessert!

You can do any flavor combination you want.  Change the pudding flavor, use half-n-half instead of cream and chocolate milk.  Throw in peaches or key lime juice or strawberries.  The possibilities are endless, and that is what I love about homemade!  No eggs required.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

last vacation of the 'year'

Kyle's final week of vacation for this fiscal year (ends with June) was at the beginning of the month.  So of course it is taking me this long to get to posting photos from it.  This time we made our first trek as a family up to our hometowns to visit for the week.

Myles handled traveling really well except for a stint on the trip back where we just had to find the next exit because he could not calm down after waking up from a nap.  But mostly it was thanks to Amazon Prime (not a sponsored post (ha!), I swear!) letting me download a few kids shows on the Kindle for the moments where he was about to start losing it.

photo cred: Mal Nowles
We started our stay at my parent's for the first couple of nights because a dear friend from my childhood was going to be getting married out of state, but the KY shindig was going to be happening our first evening up there.  In a barn no less.  On the one night of bad weather we would endure.  We will just count this as my class reunion moment since that is in the fall and will not be making that solo (+1) trip.  It was awesome/weird/awkward/amazing to see people I haven't seen in about 10 years and to be showing off my kiddo to boot.  Flashbacks abound.

The next few nights we stayed with Kyle's parents with a mid-stay trip to TN to see Discovery Park of America.  Totally awesome and worth the trip.  Myles had a major blast and I'm pretty sure Kyle read every museum plaque thing he passed.  Lots more family squeezed in, with a little bit of shopping on top.  My MIL managed to take 3 days off work to hang out with us which was a really big treat.  Our first day there, she took us to a deli for sandwiches.  I so would love to have that special BLT again.  Glazed pepper bacon, avocado and roasted peppers were the special part.

We finished up the week back with my family with a date night to The Avengers in my hometown's little theater.  Lots of good food and fun finally put a little meat on my bones.  It was hard to leave the easy life of visiting relatives, but there are always things to look forward to with getting back to your own house.  For me: my memory foam mattress, a toddler's routine, and strong coffee.

Friday, May 22, 2015

foodie friday : orange juice cake

My first part time job was working in my small town grocery store's deli for 2 summers.  It had its ups and downs... your typical minimum wage part time job.  I mostly sliced meat and cheese, but some of it was super fun.  Like baking and decorating cakes and assembling the delicious giant sandwiches we called Cow Patties.  

The one thing I really took out of that job was a love for this thing called an orange juice cake.  We would make them 6 at a time and they were always awesome.  When I left, I knocked the 6 cake recipe down to a normal 1 cake recipe, and then promptly lost it.  However, my grandmother makes it too and reminded me how to do it.  

I needed a quick and easy recipe for our small group this week, so I fixed this while the boys played in the back yard on Sunday.  It was still fantastic and ready to go on Monday.

Orange Juice Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 box instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 C vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 C orange juice

1 stick of butter
1 C sugar
1/4 C orange juice

Mix the cake ingredients really well and pour into a well greased bundt pan.  Bake as the box directions say for that type of pan.

Combine the glaze ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring, then set aside.

When your cake comes out, it would probably be best to turn it out of the pan for a second to make sure it is unstuck, then put it back in the pan.  That was something I wish I had done; instead I just poured the glaze right in and then it was really hard to turn it out without destroying it, I used a small rubber spatula to help me out.  Poke holes in the cake.  I used a chopstick but you can use a fork or something.  Pour the glaze all over it to soak in.    Let it soak for about 20 minutes while it begins to cool, then turn it out onto the plate or carrier you will be serving from.  Slice in and ENJOY!  Our small group sure did.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

random bits of information

A few things I have already learned this morning:

did you know...  that Hobby Lobby has plenty of vintage airplanes, firetrucks, cowboy stuff, and motorcycle figurines but does not really have any trains?  Unless you want to go spend +$100 on a professional model kit.

did you know...  that if you ask for an extra (empty) cup for your kid to have his own pretend coffee in, the Target Starbucks ladies will be super happy to give you one of the mini cups for them to play with?  (I can not enjoy coffee out because he always tries to steal my cup to "drink" from...problem solved!)

did you know...  that Hibbett Sports carries a great selection of infant/toddler Nike and Under Armour shoes? My only complaint was that a lot of them had shoe laces (really?!)... but we managed to snag the display pair for $23!

did you know...  that we have been squeezing my poor kid's feet into size 5 Saucony shoes when he can wear a size 7 in Nike? (His other shoes are size 6 and fit fine but since the Nike's were so cheap and not too big (just nice growing space) we went with it!)

Friday, May 15, 2015

foodie friday : beef 'n barley

My rockin' little brother sent me an enameled cast iron dutch oven for my birthday this year.  So when I saw this recipe on The Chew recently, I knew I wanted to try it for the first meal from that beautiful piece of cookware.  

Mario Batali talked this one up as his favorite comfort food that his mother always made him.  Even though it is hot as Hades down here lately, I wanted me some comfort food anyways.  And I'm glad I tried it out.  This has the makings of just an okay meal... but the addition of the jalapeño gives it a whole extra dimension that made this completely worth it.  

I did not make any changes to the original recipe at all, other than doing a slightly smaller batch.  I even did the poached eggs at the end (after setting aside plenty for Myles to eat).  I will tell you though, don't waste your time on the eggs.  There is such complex flavors and textures going on in this stew that you just don't notice them at all, and you definitely don't need the extra protein. I will leave the poached egg for my ramen where it makes a difference.  

I can't wait to try out some more recipes with my new dutch oven! You should definitely give this one a try, just pay attention to all of the directions before you get started so that you know how long each of the steps take... the barley goes in after 2 hours of simmering and needs an hour to cook.  Oh, and leftovers were fantastic (after adding a little water because the barley soaks up a lot of the stock).  We served this with hunks of french bread which was great to soak up the last bit of the stock.  We ALL enjoyed this one.  Do you have any recipes you recommend I try next in this thing?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

myles oliver : monthbymonth 18

It is amazing how much has happened in the 6 months since my last update!  At almost 33 in tall and 26 lbs, you have skipped right ahead to mostly wearing 2T clothes.  You now have 13 teeth that have at least popped through really well, with the rest of your incisors on their way.  Teething has been easy.  Brushing them is a major battle.

Your personality is so sweet.  You are so excited to feel like you are helping us around the house!  You love to bring daddy your trashcan when he is taking the trash out.  You love to hand us the dishes from the dishwasher.  Sometimes you toss your empty cups in the sink!  And you are so fascinated with the vacuum cleaner that I have started having to hand you the little handheld one so that I can use the Dyson alone.  

When we go outside, you come to where I sit on the steps and hold out your hand and pull me up to take me on a walk.  We just went to the splash park yesterday morning and after watching me catch Ella Brooks at the end of the slide, you started holding your arm up in the air just like me whenever you saw her coming down, like you are saying "its ok, we'll catch you!".  You give hugs and kisses frequently and love to laugh along with the grownups whenever we tune up.

You words are starting to slowly accumulate.  You say UH OH, momma, dada, bye bye (as goodbye and all gone), hi, Mimi (Zoe the cat and all other animals), Remi (the other cat), Addie, baby, outside, choo choo (every time the train passes), bath, ball, ow, moo, duck, dip, rock, eyes, shoes, doodle (my nickname for you), and 'da' is yes.  You also attempt to say bless you "bot ba" and thank you "ta ta" at appropriate times, but daddy says those don't count.  And whenever we get in a car or you play with a toy truck, you make car sounds.  I'm optimistic that your new interest in books is going to start helping with this.

You do pretty good with following simple directions like "sit down", "stop", "go slow".  But you definitely test our boundaries regularly.  Your favorite thing to do is sit on the arm rest of the couch and look at us like you are being a big daredevil.  You still don't really play with toys very much but you do go after your blocks, trucks, water table, lawn mower, and cozy-coupe car if you are going to play with anything.  Realistically; my bags, jewelry, keys, oven mitts, and coffee cups are your absolute favorite things.

You still eat pretty well but have started getting picky on a few things.  You no longer like green beans or strawberries and prefer shredded or ground meat.  You LOVE sautéed peppers, onions and mushrooms.  You are perfecting your use of forks and have started letting me put bibs on you again (thank goodness! we have ruined a few shirts from forgetting to treat them before washing).  

You go to bed between 7:30 and 8, and are usually awake by 7:30 the next morning.  You are down to one nap, and do the best with it if you go down at 10:30, usually you will sleep until about 1 if not longer.  We need to move that a little later though so we can hang out with friends again since all of your friends take later naps so you are now waking up when they are going down.

You are such a joy and everyone that meets you loves you immediately.  I could not have been given a more laid back kid.  But you certainly know how to throw a toddler tantrum, my mini man! 

Monday, May 11, 2015

mother's day recap : mini me style

Mother's day as a doctor's wife.  It sure is interesting.  This life is definitely teaching me to go with the flow.  Whenever I try to make big plans in my head, disappointment strikes.  So I didn't make any plans.  Sure it would have been nice to get an hour alone to sip on a latte and browse a store (all I asked for... our cats eat flowers then puke and I would much rather have $5 for previously mentioned latte than it being spent on a card IMO), but it wasn't realistic with Kyle on call Saturday night, so I didn't worry about it.  

Instead, my day went like this:  Oversleep by 30 minutes so that we only had 45 minutes before we needed to be in the car for early church.  Shower, hair and makeup and clothes in 30 minutes for me, 15 minutes for milk and clothes for Myles...with a shameless PopTart for both of us as we headed to the car.  Revel in the idea of us doing some serious matching outfits for the first time (usually I'm a little more subtle than this.)  Hey... it was Mother's Day after all.  I can do what I want!

Get home around nap time but stop and take photos because you have to document this moment of matchy matchyness.  I wish I had my phone on me as a secondary camera because little man kept trying to "take photos" with the tripod whenever he escaped my clutches.  Just like mommy.  Put the kid down for his nap and then decide what to do...because its 11am and daddy still isn't home from work.  Chores?  Binge watch Revolution?  Blog?  Nope... lay out.  Only survive the heat for 45 minutes, go in and do chores.

Champion napper for 2 days in a row (3.5 hours) wakes up after less than 2 hours because its Mother's Day and daddy pulled in the driveway at about 1:00.  Daddy goes to bed, we eat some lunch.  And head out the door to Wal-Mart because I have a hankering for breakfast for dinner and need bacon.  Do some extra shopping (yay swim trunks!) and head to Lowe's because daddy didn't know it yet but he bought mommy a bird feeder for Mother's Day.  Go home and play in the water table until its time to wake daddy up for waffles!  

It was a busy, relaxing, extremely fun day.  No I didn't get jewelry or breakfast in bed.  I still fed my family 3 meals from our fridge and pantry.  I still did some minor chores around the house.  And I certainly didn't get much time with my post-call husband.  But I did take a break for myself, and my kid was an angel during the 2 hours I drug him around the stores.  I did get an exorbitant amount of kisses from him and tons of giggles.  Thats really all I needed.

And we pulled off those plain white t's like it was our job.  It was a pretty great mother's day indeed.

Friday, May 8, 2015

foodie friday : stuffed zucchini

I just got my garden planted, which totally means I need to be gearing up for when I am overwhelmed with the massive quantity of produce I won't be able to eat alone in a couple of months.  Time to try a new recipe.  Because I'm the only one in the house that will eat zucchini muffins.

Actually, that isn't really why I made this.  I made this because my popping-5-teeth-including-4-molars-all-at-the-same-time toddler was back to his old ways of being super angry at me when I tried to get in the kitchen and be productive feeding him, so I totally only paid attention to the ingredient list for the beef and barley stew recipe I was gearing up to try.  I prepped for that with him angry at me, was totally ready for the next 20 minutes of sautéing everything with him on my hip, and then I looked at the directions and found out that it would be a 2 hour simmer time instead of the 30 minutes that I thought based on the episode of The Chew that I watched and I needed us to eat like now.  They should really include the "or you could do it this way" directions that they mention on the sly with their recipes.  Just saying.  So then I switched gears and got started on the quicker, less prep meal that I had planned for this week... these sausage stuffed zucchini.  Let me tell ya, Myles was super thrilled with that new development.

I looked at a million different recipes, and then got annoyed and just did whatever I felt like doing with all of that research in mind.  The result was awesome and you should probably remember to thank me later.  And make the whole batch, because I only did half just in case we weren't thrilled with it; after the first bite I was really mad because I could have eaten a lot more of it if it had been available.

italian sausage stuffed zucchini
by: me.

4 medium zucchini 
1 lb italian sausage
1/3 C plain breadcrumbs
1/3 C grated parmesan
1/2 medium onion diced
about 1/4 C your favorite pasta sauce
shredded mozzarella

Cut the zucchini length wise in half, scoop out the seeds.  Place in a microwave safe dish and cook for 2 minutes until crisp/tender.  Meanwhile, cook the sausage and onion.  Mix together the cooked sausage and onion with the breadcrumbs and parmesan.  Add enough sauce to help hold it all together.  Fill the zucchini with the meat mixture and top with the shredded mozzarella.  Bake at 350F for 30 min.  Serve topped with warmed sauce. 

We had this with some garlic bread; it might be fine with some pasta or just a great salad of some kind.  I was completely in love with this as something different than our norm.  Kyle had his typical reaction but did actually eat 2 of them with no complaints.  And Myles gobbled it up.  So this is going to be repeated for sure.  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


designing  I have already talked about how I have started making bibs for our friends that have babies down here; I have not mentioned that I have made a few more mobiles for a couple of them to put in their nurseries.  I loved how Myles' airplane themed mobile turned out, so did a similar one with only clouds for Lane's room, and turned those clouds into sheep for Charlotte's.  Lyndsey's baby boy will be here before we know it so I am starting to think about how I will make his for the vintage train theme Lyndsey is planning.

enjoying  Time with my little family.  We are trying to get some of the "technology creep" under control around here, and the results have been awesome.  Dinner on the deck, Kyle chasing Myles around the yard, card games with Kyle after Myles is in bed; it has been a pretty nice change.

ordering  I just ordered my first set of Jamberry nails.  I got the Urban Lights design and can't wait to get them on!  I have a Facebook party scheduled to begin the week of May 31st so let me know if you want to participate!  

celebrating  I feel like we are constantly celebrating all of the new things Myles is learning right now.  He has added more words to his vocabulary since our trip to KY, has learned how to blow a dandelion (and hot food), truly helps Kyle with chores, cheers/laughs every time he gives kisses, plus much much more.

tasting  We have tried out 2 new recipes this week, and this Friday my foodie friday section will return with some amazing stuffed zucchini, so remember to stop back by!

As always, I am linking up with Anne at In Residence and Jenna at the newly rebranded Gold&Bloom (formerly Dearest Love).

Monday, May 4, 2015

i'm back?

Photo cred: Kyle's sis Tracy

It has been a while... what have I been doing instead of writing on here?

Playing too many addictive games on my Kindle.  Spending some much needed time with both sides of our family both in SC and in KY!  Reading books for the first time in a while.  Evaluating my job performance.  

I go through seasons of addiction to random things.  Sometimes it is a reading addiction.  Sometimes it is a bread baking addiction.  Sometimes it is a DIY project addiction.  Sometimes it is a coffee making addiction.  Sometimes it is a blogging addiction.  And sometimes it is a free "escape" and "object search" Kindle game addiction.  

First, Kyle's family made it down for a long weekend, a week and a half later, my parents made it for almost a week, and then 2 weeks after that we made the trip up to KY for Kyle's final week of vacation for this fiscal year.  Photo dump coming soon.

I love our library system.  Like love.  I haven't used a library membership since high school, but I use ours here all the time.  Probably because our local branch is within walking distance (not that we walk it...).  I have been keeping a few books for Myles around, using our interlibrary loan service, and the ebook library.  Recent reads include Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill (the niece of current Scientology leader David Miscavige); As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes (Westley):  and currently reading Divergent by Veronica Roth.  Highly recommend the first two, the last is good so far, but so is the movie IMO.

I have recently had the realization that I focus on being a "stay at home mom" (keeping Myles happy and healthy and learning) and have been totally neglecting the other part of my job... the "housewife" title... mostly as it pertains to the state of our home.  And not for any reason other than laziness.  So for the past month, I have been trying to find a better balance between the two and it has been really fulfilling.  I often would reach a moment when I would look around and be disgusted at the state of my home, (not in a "omg...there is a sock in the floor and a dish in the sink, how gross!" sort of way... more like "there are crumbs and dirty dishes all over the kitchen and old mail and random crap on the dining table and toys everywhere and cat hair everywhere and the bathrooms are gross and lets shift this pile here so we can sit down" kinda way) and then that would turn to disgust at myself for letting it get that way, and turn into a major cleaning spree that would last all of a day until it started getting gross again.  Now, I am trying to maintain a functional "lived in" feel, not spotless, but not inhibitory to us enjoying our home and being scared to let anyone into the house. 

Some of this is stupid and I need to get it under control, and some things have needed to take priority...either way the blog has taken a back seat for a while and I'm hoping to get back in the swing of things.  Discipline in all areas of life is my current goal... Be back soon.  I have a giant suitcase to unpack and cloth diapers to assemble.