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  • Have a Spooky Halloween!

    Cheddar Witches Fingers - Cheese straws in the shape of fingers, complete with a black almond "finger nail." Delicious and totally spooky.

    Candy Apples - You don't need to go to the fair to get my favorite treat because you can make these at home. Black food coloring gives them a festive touch.

    Pumpkin Caramel Sauce - Having a not-so-scary Halloween party? Serve ice cream with this pumpkin infused caramel sauce on top.

Monthly Archives: March 2012

Strawberry Ice Cream

Strawberry Ice Cream
Ice cream is easily my favorite dessert, no matter the time of year. When it’s warm, though, I crave it even more than usual. With an ice cream maker at home, it almost seems wrong not to have homemade ice cream on hand all the time. I usually have all the ingredients I need for vanilla bean ice cream and was thinking about making it one of my first days home with Clara. Then I remembered I had fresh strawberries, and I just had to make strawberry ice cream. The only problem was that I didn’t have enough sour cream to make this recipe. Since Clara was just over a week old, I had no desire to take her out for just one ingredient, but I couldn’t get over the urge for strawberry ice cream once it was in my mind. Thankfully, I had just enough Greek yogurt to make up the difference.

I love strawberries, so it’s safe to say strawberry ice cream is one of my favorites (though I don’t think I could ever have one favorite ice cream – that’s preposterous!). This is by far the best strawberry ice cream I’ve ever had. It’s incredibly creamy and really lets the bright flavor of the berries shine through. Now I know it may seem a little odd to use sour cream in an ice cream recipe, but trust me when I tell you it’s what helps make this ice cream have such a wonderful texture without the need for a custard. Typically I find custard-based ice creams to be superior in texture, but that was not the case with this recipe. I didn’t think the flavor or texture suffered at all from my substitution of Greek yogurt, and I actually enjoyed the bit of tang it provided. Since there’s no custard to cook and cool, this ice cream is beyond easy to make. The strawberries are macerated, then everything is blended together and frozen. If you’re new to ice cream making, this is a great recipe to try.

Strawberry Ice Cream

If you want to really take this ice cream over the top, you can top it with homemade hard shell. Yes, that’s right. Homemade hard shell. It’s like turning this ice cream into a frozen chocolate covered strawberry. I read somewhere a few years ago that melting coconut oil with chocolate would turn it into a hard coating. I’ve been making chocolate hard shell ever since, using a 2:1 ratio of chocolate to coconut oil. Just microwave them together for 30 seconds or so, depending on the amount, and stir to combine. I used 2 teaspoons of chocolate chips for the ice cream pictured here and had a little leftover. I’ve enjoyed hard shell on several flavors of ice cream, but the strawberry-chocolate combination can’t be beat. (It’s obviously one of my favorites.)

Strawberry Ice Cream with Homemade Chocolate Hard Shell

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Bacon, Pepper Jack and Jalapeno Scones

Bacon, Pepper Jack and Jalapeno Scones
I’ve mentioned before how much Eric and I enjoy making breakfast on the weekends. Since I was pretty certain we wouldn’t be getting up eager to make breakfast after Clara was born, I wanted to make sure we had plenty of options that could be made quickly. I knew most friends that made meals for us would make dinner, so we were happy to have different things on hand, other than cereal or toast, for breakfast. I made a few different varieties of scones so that we could just pop them in the oven straight from the freezer. I can tell you without a doubt that these were Eric’s favorite (these were mine).

I adapted this recipe from one I posted a couple years ago, and I have to say – this version is even better than the original. I’ve been all about spicy food lately, and these scones have a slight kick thanks to the jalapenos. They’re incredibly hearty, filled with pockets of melted pepper jack and crispy bacon. The texture remains light and flaky, even with all the bacon and cheese. One of these is easily a meal on its own, but they’re so good it’s hard to just eat one. The best part for us is that they can be easily eaten with one hand, which is great when you’re taking care of a newborn.

Bacon, Pepper Jack and Jalapeno Scones

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Green Chile Macaroni and Cheese

Green Chile Macaroni and Cheese
I used to think that I only needed one macaroni and cheese recipe. Ha! Can you imagine? I’ve made so many varieties but always find myself coming back to this one. For classic macaroni, that is still my go-to recipe. However, this recipe has stolen the spotlight. I find myself wanting to make it all the time. It’s not your typical macaroni and cheese – the sauce is infused with smoky poblano and studded with peppers, onion and corn. It’s a spicy, southwest version of mac and cheese, and it totally rocks.

I’ve made this recipe countless times since saving it early last year, and I still haven’t gotten tired of it. It’s such a unique combination of flavors, and the fact that it’s a little spicy makes me love it even more. I craved spicy food a lot during my pregnancy, and that hasn’t changed since Clara arrived. This mac and cheese has that smoky background flavor from the roasted poblano, but it also gets kick from fresh poblano and jalapeno. A crunchy, cayenne infused panko breadcrumb topping finishes it off and adds another layer of flavor and texture. I made a double batch of this the week before Clara was born and froze half of it without the panko. I’m happy to report that it reheated beautifully, and Eric and I were beyond thankful to have a warm, comforting dinner after two days of hospital food.

Green Chile Macaroni and Cheese

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Irish Coffee Cupcakes

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

I’m finally getting into the swing of things with Baby Clara and have been spending more time in the kitchen. We stayed up late a couple nights ago to make these cupcakes, and doing so already has me looking forward to the days when she can be my little sous chef. :) Though I haven’t been around much the past two weeks, I do have some recipes to share next week. Until then, here’s a short post in case you’re still searching for something to make for St. Patrick’s Day.

I’ve never been one to celebrate small holidays, that is until I started cooking and baking. Now, I’ll use anything as an excuse to make something delicious. I’ve had this recipe saved for quite some time, and St. Patrick’s Day is obviously the perfect time to make it. These cupcakes are essentially a dessert version of the classic Irish coffee drink. Sure, they aren’t green and they’re not made with beer. However, I don’t think you’ll miss those things. Why? Because these cupcakes are moist and delicious, infused with strong coffee and the rich, caramelized flavor of brown sugar. They’re topped with a light and airy whipped cream that’s got just enough whiskey for you to know it’s there. If you enjoy coffee as much as I do, I guarantee that you will love these anytime of year.

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

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Introducing Baby C!

I’m thrilled to announce the arrival of Clara Jane Champion. Our sweet little girl was born last Monday, March 5, at 3:50pm. She weighed 7lbs. 5oz. at birth and is 21 inches long. We are quickly adjusting to life as a family of three and are so happy to have her home. She is a beautiful girl with a head full of dark brown hair. She’s been eating like a champ…no surprise there. ;) Eric and I are completely enamored by her and can’t get over how adorable she is.

We’ve been living off meals I made and froze in advance (so glad I did that!), but I can promise you we’ll be back in the kitchen soon. Until then, I’ve updated my featured recipes with a few of my favorites for spring.