February Loves

I am in love with this Saarloos and Sons white wine! This wine.  So yummy.  I had gotten a bottle of this white and a red from Saarloos and Sons in a silent auction gift basket from my son’s preschool.  I didn’t know too much about the company so the bottles have just been hanging around.  Well, the other night I decided it was time for the white to get chilled.  I’m a Sauvignon Blanc kind of gal.  And I’m not totally sure how these two wines stack up against each other.  But I can tell you this.  I opened the bottle, and on first sip, I hated it.  It was one of those days so I decided I’d drink the glass but I left the bottle on the counter with the intention of dumping it out that night.  But something about the second sip got me.  And I began to really enjoy the glass.  I went and put the bottle in the fridge and drank the rest of the bottle over the next few nights.  Turns out I REALLY like this wine.  Maybe the first sip just wasn’t what I was expecting but I’m glad I continued to drink it.  And now I want to go to their tasting room and drink more.  Lots more.  And go read their story.  Super cool.

My favorite candy of all time.  That I only eat at Valentine's DayThese hearts are one of my favorite candies.  And I only eat them at Valentine’s Day.  They really are just Gobstoppers.  And they used to even come in the normal Gobstopper colors but within the last few years, they have changed them to be only pink, red and white.  I realize that they are Gobstoppers and I can eat them all year long, but there is something about waiting for them to arrive in stores that makes me love them even more.  My sister and I always by them for each other.  And once that bag (or two) is gone, that is it until next year.  Have you ever tried these?

Live your passion!  My pal shared her stint on Cougar Town with us.  So proud of her! If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen me post about this the other night.  I am super proud of my friend, Erika, for following a passion of hers.  She, just recently, decided to do extra work and start acting.  She was over the other night and I got to see her in an episode of Cougar Town and it was amazing.  I’m so excited to see where she takes it and know that she is doing what she loves.  I am lucky to know this gal and look forward to seeing her in more things!!

My husband has taking to making us pancakes on the weekend!So I’ve been married for 10 years now.  My husband hardly ever cooks.  So color me surprised when he decided to make us pancakes one morning.  We liked them so much he has taken to making them for us on the weekends.  So fun!  Food really does taste better when you don’t have to cook it.

blair-ritchey-for-meg-biram-gator-phone-caseI’m totally in love with my new phone case.  I got an iPhone 5 for Christmas so I had to get a new case.  This gator skin case by Blair Ritchey found in Meg Biram’s shop is so great.  I love everything about it.  It looks like it is sold out but they do have it in olive which would also be super cool.

Beer Chocolate and Chile Ice Cream

beer chocolate chile ice creamYup, I made beer ice cream.  Well, it totally had chocolate and chile in it too.  And it was good.  And it is another great recipe for game day.  People seem to get excited about game day.  But I get excited about ice cream.

Beer Chocolate and Chile Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 large pasilla negro chile, stemmed, seeded, deveined (I found this is the International Foods Aisle at my grocery store. It was not called exactly as it is written above, but look for key words…)
  • 1 1/3 cups half-and-half
  • 2 ounces Mexican chocolate, chopped in to small pieces (I could not find Mexican chocolate so instead I used a bittersweet chocolate and added a touch of cinnamon to the recipe)
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into 1/4″ pieces
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla, preferably Mexican
  • 1/4 cup Bohemia beer

Instructions

  1. In a small skillet heated over medium, toast the chile, pressing it flat against the skillet with a metal spatula until it is very aromatic—about 10 seconds per side. Place in a small saucepan and add the half-and-half, Mexican chocolate and the semi-sweet chocolate; heat over medium until steaming (but not boiling). Remove from heat. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes, then pour into a blender jar and process until the chile is completely pureed.
  2. Set up a 4-quart saucepan, filled halfway with water, into which you can nestle a 3-quart stainless steel bowl. Bring the pot of water to a boil over high heat while you’re preparing the custard base. Reduce the temperature under the pot of boiling water to maintain a gentle simmer.
  3. In the 3-quart stainless steel bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until thoroughly combined, then whisk in the chile-infused chocolate mixture. Set the bowl of custard base over the simmering water and whisk frequently, scraping down the sides of the bowl regularly with a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens noticeably, about 5 minutes. The custard is sufficiently cooked when it reaches 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. (You can also test it by dipping a wooden spoon into the custard, then running your finger through the custard: if the line holds clearly, the custard has thickened sufficiently.) For the finest texture, strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a clean bowl.
  4. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice. Nestle the bowl of strained custard in the ice bath. Whisk the mixture until it is completely cool. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
  5. Stir the heavy cream, vanilla and Bohemia into the base. Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer’s directions. Scrape into a freezer container and freeze for several hours to firm.
  6. Recipe courtesy of Bohemia Beer
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/beer-chocolate-and-chile-ice-cream/

 

Easy Valentine’s Treat for Kids – Fun Dip Whipped Cream

Super easy Fun Dip Whipped Cream for a Valentine's SurpriseYes, you read that right.  Cherry Fun Dip Whipped Cream.  I like to think that my kid’s don’t eat a lot of junk food.  But I would be kidding myself.  Due to food allergies we steer clear of ice creams, cupcakes and cookies when out and about.  But I am learning that I over compensate for that with candy.  I really am trying to work on that this year.  But there are a few days out of the year, when an extra special treat just makes sense.  And Valentine’s Day is just that.  If you didn’t see my Stout Brownie post the other day I became obsessed with all the things you can do with homemade whipped cream.  So I decided to see if I could flavor it with candy.  Well, let me be perfectly honest.  I originally tried cherry jello, and since I am a novice in the kitchen, I had no idea that the gelatin would make the heavy cream get crunk.  That is really just the best way to describe it.  It’s not just a dance you know.  It is totally what it turns in to when you add jello to heavy whipping cream.   I mean it started out fine, and then BAM!  Crunk.  Lauren suggested trying a powdered candy and I knew right away she was on to something.

Fun Dip Whipped Cream IngredientsNow is the perfect time to find multi packs of Fun Dip at Target.  I didn’t think I would have trouble finding Fun Dip, but it isn’t easy to just buy one or two bags of it (Note to my local OC peeps:  the Irvine Spectrum has a candy store in the Target wing that does sell them by the piece).  I picked up a package of Valentine’s sized Fun Dips and picked out all the cherry (blue would just be super grody – not really – pink is just cuter).  Making the Cherry Fun Dip Whipped Cream is really easy.  I use a cup of heavy whipping cream, a TBSP of powdered sugar and 8) .5 ounce packs of cherry Fun Dip.  I’m not sure if the regular, individually sold packages are bigger than this so just know that you will need about 4 total ounces of the powder.

whip the cream, sugar and fun dip for a rad Valentine's Day treat for the whole family. Mix it up for about 3 minutes, watching for soft peaks.

Super easy Cherry Fun Dip Whipped CreamThat is all it takes.

yup.  there is fun dip in the whipped cream.And since you have all those leftover Lik-a-sticks you might as well put it to good use.

add special whipped cream to chocolate milk for Valentine's Day breakfastHow awesome will your kids think you are when you surprise them with this on Valentine’s Day morning in their chocolate milk.  Oh, you don’t serve this type of trash to your kids that early?  Then by all means, save this for afternoon snack.

A fun Valentine's treat for your kidsIt is tart and sweet and cherry-rific.

kids love chocolate.  so why not add some special whipped cream? There really is very little way that your kids wouldn’t like this.  I’d like to pretend that this photo was taken very early in the morning due to both kids still being in their pajamas…

Cherry Fun Dip Whipped CreamOk, so who is going to try this?  Also great for ice cream sundaes, brownies, pies, birthday parties, baby showers and bat mitzvahs.

chocolate-milk-with-fun-dip-whipped-creamDo it.

Are you ready for Valentine’s Day?

A round up of Valentine's Day posts

 

Are you ready for Valentine’s Day?  Here are a few of my posts that might help you make the day a little more special for your family:

Candy popcorn recipe with Jello

Music inspired printable Valentine’s

Hanging balloon Valentine’s

A non-traditional view of Valentine’s Day (inspo board based on a song by The Cults)

Felt heart finger puppets

Edible confetti

Popsicle Stick Heart Peace Sign

Heart garland tutorial for You Are my Fave

Pink and gold goat cheese appetizer (The BEST appetizer and so pretty too!)

Sorbet and champagne cocktail

And don’t forget this smash cake tutorial I helped Meringue Bake Shop with!

Project 12 Beers from Budweiser #BrewForYou #Sponsored #MC

*I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Millennial Central for Budweiser.  I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.
beer tasting and pokerLast year I got my husband an at-home beer brewing kit for his birthday.  It was really fun to see him creating the beer from scratch and then get to try it once it was ready.  The process is rather long and oh, did I mention he chose my living room to set his beer barrel in?  Not ideal.  The final product turned out pretty great and he is gearing up to make another batch (Yeah! She said sarcastically…).  When he isn’t brewing his own beer (its a rather new hobby) he is a total Budweiser man.  I’m sure he likes the taste, but I know he is also into the business side of things, like the longevity, the original family run business and the marketing.  There is always Budweiser at our house.  So when I got the email about these Project 12 beers from Budweiser I just knew I had to get them for us to try.

beer and poker partySo what the heck is Project 12?  I think it is kind of awesome.  The brewmasters at Budweiser created these three beers starting with the signature yeast used by Adolphus Busch in 1876.  This keeps the clean, crisp taste of the original but then chose ingredients found around the United States to create 3 unique flavor profiles.  North Pacific Lager (Batch 94534, Fairfield, CA) is brewed with a blend of hops found in the Pacific Northwest.  This lager has a deep gold color that is quite pretty.  Am I allowed to call beer pretty?  The Vanilla Bourbon Cask (Batch 23185, Williamsburg, VA) is aged on a bed of wood from bourbon barrel and vanilla beans.  You KNOW this is the one I went after first!  And the Beechwood Boch (Batch 43229, Columbus, Ohio) is brewed with chocolate and caramel malts…Oh yeah!  These limited-edition sampler packs will be available nationwide through the end of the year.  So go find them!

poker-night-with-beer-tastingI had set up a poker night in honor of my husband’s birthday before I even knew I would be getting to try the beers.  I invited a few of his closest friends and family over and while I was going to go hide in the bedroom and let them have their guy time, I was certainly going to try out the beers too.

poker-night-with-budweiser-12-tastingI’m totally in love with the packaging.  It looks totally different from the original and is very graphic yet simple.  My husband went straight for the North Pacific Lager.  Hearty, hoppy and aromatic is how my husband described it to me.  I don’t know enough about beer to be that descriptive.  I did find it tasty though.

beer-and-pokerMy father in law was the first to arrive for poker.  He went right to the Vanilla Bourbon Cask.  This one had a smooth flavor and rich aromas.  It was his favorite of all of them for sure.  I am hoping to find some more of this for him.  I will totally win daughter-in-law points for that for sure.  This was my favorite too.  It had a touch of sweetness that was really nice.

mini-beer-tasting-glassesAlong with the beer, Budweiser sent these little beer tasting glasses.  They were perfect.  I wanted to make sure the boys had enough beer, but of course I needed to try them all too.  These will also come in handy for the next time my husband brews his own.  We’ll have to hold a tasting for that as well.  But I am guessing there will be no vanilla or chocolate notes in his.  Boo.

project-12-beer-tasting-and-pokerThe batches are named after the zip codes where the beers were brewed.  And while the beers taste amazing on their own, they also lend themselves quite well to recipes.  The Beechwood Bock works perfectly in a Spiced Pecan Cheese Ball.  And how amazing do Pumpkin Bites with Vanilla Bourbon Cask Cream sound?!  Prepare puff pastry cups and let cool.  Add prepared pumpkin pie filling to each.  To create the cream, mix 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 oz. Vanilla Bourbon Cask with a mixer until light and fluffy.  Spoon over the pumpkin and eat the heck out of them.

vanilla-bourbon-cask-budweiser-project-12The big winner of the night was the Vanilla Bourbon Cask.  Overall, everyone at the poker party really enjoyed this one.  Keep your eyes out for it.  You will not be disappointed!

beer-and-poker-snacksOf course I provided food for the guys.  I didn’t try to pair it with the beers but kept it very poker-y, you know basically snacks and meats.  But it worked out perfectly.  The North Pacific Lager goes really well with cheddar, found on chips and popcorn I served and the Vanilla Bourbon Cask goes great with the bacon from the dip I served.  But don’t take my word for it.  You should hold your own Project 12 tasting.  Keep your eyes out for these beers.  In fact, if you see them, leave me a comment and let me know where!