Sometimes life is easy. Life gives us new friends, or a promotion at work, or time for an extra cup of coffee in the morning, and somehow, all feels right in the world. Sometimes life gives us a surprise sale at our favorite store, or a long-awaited answer to prayer, or extra caramel drizzled in the bottom of our Starbucks cup, and everything in us shouts, “YES! Thank you! Hooray!” But sometimes life gives us illness. Sometimes life gives us broken relationships, or a flat tire, or a feeling that you’re two steps behind of where you should be. Sometimes it feels like life dumped a bunch of garbage on us and the answer to all of our dreams is “NO!” One those days, I need an extra helping of grace… and these bruleed key lime pies.
These past couple of weeks have been hard. Life just feels off. But we’ve all been there, right? We’ve all felt at the end of our rope. Out of gas, out of time, out of luck. We’ve all been tired.
These bruleed key lime pies make me happy. A simple dessert, with minimal ingredients and effort, that yields a whole lot of goodness and reward. A buttery, salty crust, filled with a creamy, mouth-puckering key lime filling, all resting perfectly content underneath a sheet of bruleed sugar. Every flavor profile and multiple textures all baked into one perfect little, palm-sized dessert.
We start by stirring together a simple graham cracker crust that gets pressed into the bottom of mini tart pans. While those bake, we whisk together the most basic of key lime pie fillings. Once poured into the baked crusts, the pies are sent for another round in the oven. From there, the tarts are left to chill briefly before a sugar crust is bruleed on top.
Whipping up these bruleed key lime pies makes me feel like a boss. They feel like an easy dose of fancy and delicious, particularly on these days that can sometimes seriously suck. Bruleed key lime pies make me feel like I’m doing something right.
I hope life is giving you all kinds of goodness right now and that you’re breezing through this week like you were made for it. But if life is giving you all kinds of lemons and limes, then I hope you’ll use those fruits to make bruleed key lime pies.
Bruleed key lime pies have a buttery graham cracker crust, with a tart, creamy key lime filling, topped with a sheet of bruleed sugar.
Total Time:30 minutes
For the crust
1 sleeve of graham crackers
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
For the key lime pie
4 egg yolks
1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice
1–1/2 teaspoons key lime zest
1/4 cup granulated sugar
To prepare the crust
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 4 (4-1/2 inch) tart pans with removable bottoms with baking spray.
Pulse graham crackers in a food processor to crumbs. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse to combine. Divide the crust mixture among the 4 pans and press into the bottoms of the pans with your fingers. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the crust is set. Set aside to cool slightly.
To prepare the key lime pie
In a medium sized glass bowl, whip the egg yolk for about 1 minute with a wire whisk. Add the sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, and zest. Whisk to combine.
Divide the mixture between the 4 tart pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, or until the outer edges of the tart have set. Allow to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes and then chill in the refrigerator until cold, or at least an hour.
When ready to eat, unmold tarts by turning upside down on a piece of wax paper and pressing gently on the removable bottom with your fingers. Once removed, flip out on to a plate. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar on each tart and caramelize using a kitchen torch. Allow to rest for 3-4 minutes and then serve.
You can prepare these in a muffin tin, however, be mindful to use liners. Baking time will differ.
At the end of April, my mom and I created a summer bucket list- a list of projects and goals we wanted to complete before fall came rolling through. Initially, I was determined to tick each and every item off that list. I’d finish sewing a few quilts, piece together George’s baby photo album, and shed the remaining pregnancy pounds, among a number of other tasks that I was sure I’d finish with ease.
I was wrong.
Had my summer bucket list included eating an entire ice cream cake by myself, binge watching every episode of “Naked and Afraid” on my DVR, or successfully maintaining a sports bra/t-shirt hybrid of a farmer’s tan, then this summer would have been crowned an all out success. Instead, my biggest success of the summer was keeping two humans alive (three, if you count my husband), and finally sleeping through the night myself without an extra kick in the pants from my good friend, melatonin.
One silver lining of those summer nights and my struggling bucket list are the cocktails. Ohh, the cocktails.
I have honey basil margaritas to thank for a lot of my summer nights. Made with classic margarita ingredients and the added bonus of a honey simple syrup and fresh basil, these honey basil margaritas are incredibly refreshing and the perfect mix of sweet, sour, and salty. This is a cocktail made for sunset-watching on the beach, summer barbecues, or (if you’re like me) when the witching hour is strong and mama just needs a little something to take the edge off.
The honey simple syrup is made like any other simple syrup, by boiling equal parts water and sugar (in the form of good quality clover honey) until it’s dissolved. After being chilled, the syrup is muddled with the basil before being shaken to oblivion with the lime, tequila, and orange liquor. You can store your syrup in the fridge for two weeks and I highly recommend shaking it up with some of your other favorite citrus-based cocktails (French 75, anyone?)
I’m sharing this recipe for honey basil margaritas in participation of #DRINKTHESUMMER , a virtual cocktail party being hosted by Sherrie of With Food + Love . Even though summer is short, it is always plenty generous with a bounty of produce that is worthy of celebration, so be sure to check out her post where she will be sharing the names and recipe links of the other bloggers involved.
If you made a summer bucket list and failed to complete it, don’t fret. Just drink up what’s left of the summer and look forward to all that fall has to offer.
To see more of #DRINKTHESUMMER , click to the host site here .
Made with fresh basil and a honey simple syrup, these honey basil margaritas are a refreshing, summery take on the Mexican classic.
For the honey basil margaritas
3/4 ounce honey simple syrup (recipe below)
4 medium sized basil leaves
2 ounces tequila
1/2 ounce orange liquor
1 ounce lime juice
For the honey simple syrup
1/2 cup good quality clover honey
1/2 cup water
To prepare the margaritas
In a shaker, muddle the basil leaves with the honey simple syrup. Add the remaining ingredients and fill the shaker with ice. Shake for 30-45 seconds. Pour into a salt-rimmed glass and enjoy!
To prepare the honey simple syrup
Combine the honey and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, bring to a boil and then remove from the heat. Allow to cool on the stove or in a heat-safe container in the fridge. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Guys. Please tell me I’m not the only one. Please, please tell me that I am not actually the sorriest person on the planet.
The other day, I was vacuuming the nursery when I came upon a stubborn bundle of fuzz that refused to be sucked into the vacuum even after rolling over it five or six (read: fifteen) times. Instead of tossing the fuzzie in the trash, I picked up the little guy with my toes and then dropped it back on the ground to attempt to vacuum it up from a different angle.
WHAT. IS. THAT.
What degree of laziness does one have to have if they are willing to relocate grunge on floor to avoid a short walk to the garbage can to throw it out?
[Throws hands in the air] I disgust myself.
But this is the kind of stuff that is all over my life right now. With a handful of balls in the air and more than a few hats that I wear on a daily basis, I find myself halfway-ing a good number of areas of my life. I work out, but I fail to eat right. I buy a birthday gift but forget to mail the card. I play with my babies, but get tired and end up relying on Mickey Mouse to drag us through the final hours of the day. I’m still trying to get the hang of balancing all of the things that I want to make time for and as a result, some things just don’t get the attention they require.
Between work and babies and all of the other things that end up receiving little nuggets of my time, this blog is often one of the many forgotten outcasts of my life. Since starting this little corner of the interwebz, I have had the intentions of working on a number of photography and web-based skills (computer hacking skills…nun-chuck skills…. bow-hunting skills), but that list of tasks has long been shuffled under a mound of other things. Finally, this past weekend, I set aside some time to tick a few things off of my list and I am thrilled to share the results with you.
I made a stop motion film!
Okay, I understand this is not a huge deal and I can totally hear every teenager on the planet whispering, “that’s so easy” under their breath. Also, there’s no need to point out the flaws because I totally see them. But for me, this took a bit of learning and I am so excited to have even attempted it. I’d officially like the thank The Academy, my Canon camera, and both of my babies (for napping at the same time last Saturday) for giving me the opportunity to shoot and stitch this little guy together.
You’ll see that the video is a stop motion film of the building of a naked black forest ice cream cake. Naked cakes are my favorite to make, so naturally, naked ice cream cakes are pretty much the center of my universe. I love them almost as much as I love my own children. Not really, but close.
This black forest ice cream cake was created using my favorite chocolate cake recipe and a frozen, ice cream-esque filling that I adapted from Ina Garten’s mocha icebox cake. While a traditional black forest cake is filled with Kirsch soaked cherries and lightly sweetened whipped cream, my version boasts boozy bourbon cherries (because the South, y’all!), hot fudge drizzles, and simple, creamy layers of ice cream. The whole thing is stacked together and left in the freezer for a rainy day.
You can totally shortcut any and all portions of this recipe and substitute store-bought favorites. Instead of homemade cake, try a box mix. Instead of making the ice cream filling, set a quart of your favorite grocery store variety on the counter to thaw out slightly before making the cake. I always have a jar of fudge sauce in my fridge and try to prepare the cakes the night before, so day-of labor is minimal at best.
I recommend that you read through the full list of instructions before starting. The process is simple in nature, but lengthy in detail so make sure you know what you’re doing before you get started. Also, I’ve included a couple of snapshots in this post to illustrate the two methods of building a naked cake. Have fun watching the short little movie, and I sincerely hope it inspires you to make a naked cake of your own. Happy Monday!
Black Forest Ice Cream Cake
3 prepared 6″ chocolate cake layers (I bake a half batch of this recipe in 3- 6″ pans)
1 recipe of ice cream filling, unfrozen (see below)
1 recipe of bourbon soaked cherries (See below)
1/2 cup chocolate fudge sauce (I like this recipe, but store bought is fine)
1. Line a 6″ cake ring with an acetate sheet collar (see notes). Alternatively, you can line the sides of a 6″ round cake pan with a collar of wax paper or parchment paper to use as a guide/mold for building your cake. This is not a necessary step, but certainly makes building your cake much easier. If using the cake pan, line the bottom with a small piece of parchment to ensure easy removal from pan.
2. Place one leveled cake layer in the bottom of the cake ring. Using a pastry brush, soak the first layer of cake with approximately 1/3 of the cherry syrup. Smooth 1 cup of the ice cream mixture over the top of the first cake layer. Sprinkle 1/2 of the cherries on top of the ice cream and then drizzle with 1/4 cups of hot fudge sauce. Repeat this process once.
3. Place the final cake layer on top of the built cake. Soak with the final third of cherry syrup and smooth 1-1/2 cups of the ice cream mixture on top.
4. Cover the cake loosely, and place in the freezer to set up for 4 hours or until firm.
5. Remove cake from freezer 10-15 minutes prior to serving for easy slicing. Uncut, the cake will keep in the freezer for 3 weeks.
1. I use 3″ x 20″ wide acetate sheets to line my cake ring. As a result, I end up requiring two sheets total to cover the height of my cakes. See here for additional instructions on building cakes with acetate sheets.
2. If you prefer to not use acetate sheets and cake ring as a supportive mold, you can build the cake as I did in my video! Keep in mind that you have to work quickly as all that fluffy ice cream likes to squish out the sides.
Ice Cream Filling
8 ounces of mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean
2 tablespoons of good quality bourbon, optional (I use Blanton’s)
To prepare the no churn ice cream:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the mascarpone, sugar, whipping cream, vanilla and bourbon. Whip with a whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. Set aside until ready to use in your cake.
Bourbon Soaked Cherries
1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) of stemmed and pitted dark cherries
2 tablespoons of good quality bourbon (I use Blanton’s)
2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
To prepare the cherries:
Roughly chop cherries into small bits. Place in a bowl and stir together with sugar and bourbon. Set aside for 30 minutes prior to use to allow the cherries, sugar, and bourbon to produce a syrup. When ready to use, strain the cherries from the syrup, reserving both for the cake. (Note: with this preparation the cherries freeze into icy bits of booze and fruit. If you’d prefer a sweeter, softer filling, you can cook the ingredients above with an additional 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch over low heat, stirring and smashing the cherries regularly until it has thickened to a jam-like consistency. Allow to cool before assembling with cake.)
We just got back from a trip to Mexico, and I can’t tell you how much I value my time spent there. Beyond margaritas and fish tacos and poolside amenities, there was rest and a lot of time- quality time with my husband.
Somewhere between the nine to five and the raising two kids and the daily checklist of things to do, I have forgotten how to laugh. I’ve forgotten how to joke. I’ve forgotten how to play and how to flirt and how to make lazy conversation with my husband. In Mexico, there wasn’t any business talk. No work stress. No employees calling in sick, or check lists, or babies with a belly ache or needing more milk or one more bedtime story. There was me and my husband and the words and the air that flowed in between us. That’s all.
To be clear, I understand that this is not always real life. Real life contains joy and happiness and series of perfectly mundane moments, but real life is also work. Real life can be hard and busy and full. And when life gets like that, the last thing I remember to do is to act in love. It can become challenging to remember all the reasons why you decided to do life with someone.
We didn’t need Mexico or sunshine or spa appointments or mint flecked, frozen beverages, but we needed vacation. We needed quiet time to connect and to be ourselves- the people we were when we chose each other. The people who aren’t covered up in work stuff or baby drool or mounds of tasks to check off our lists.
To my mother-in-law who kept our babies while we were gone: thank you. You sewed into our marriage. Your time made us better.
And to those of you who are in desperate need of something new: find it. Take time off. Take a trip or a drive or just fifteen minutes before the day ends to love the person you’re with. Fight for the things that are important to you and invest in the things that give you life.
My friend Susan Goodman wrote an incredible book called “Pursue Possibilities”. In it, she talks about forming habits and she poignantly says that whatever you want your life to look like in ten years has to start today. If you want to be a CEO of your company in ten years, you have to act like a CEO today. If you want to author a book in ten years, you have to write today. If you want to be holding your husband’s hand in ten years, you need to hold his hand in the gritty now.
In ten years, I want to be holding my husband’s hand. In ten years, I want to be sitting at the dinner table with my family and know that the decisions I made ten years ago made my present life that much sweeter. But I need reminders to participate in the now. To actively partake in the moments that make our marriage sweet today.
So reader, I beg you to remind me of this daily. Hold me accountable. And as your friend, I promise to do the same.
And if you are currently reading this saying to yourself, “Sheesh, I wish she would hurry up and talk about some ice cream,” OK! Here it comes!
I decided to make this no churn cherry chip ice cream for my Mimi. She’s tried this recipe and prefers it with larger chunks of cherries throughout, but I’ve made it here with fewer cherry bits and the added crunch of dark chocolate. If you’re really into cherry flavors, you can add more cherries or a little cherry liquor for good measure.
First, we roast dark cherries in the oven with sugar and salt until they’re soft, sweet, and syrupy. Roasting makes everything feel a little more sophisticated, right? Then, we purée a portion of the cherries to mix in with our vanilla ice cream base, and leave the remainder of the cherries in halves or quarters so that each bite of ice cream contains juicy fruit goodness. If you want a smooth ice cream without any tiny bits, be sure to strain your cherry puree prior to adding it to the cream mixture. Sidenote: This will also save you the embarrassment of getting cherry skins stuck in your teeth. Add a little chocolate to your cream and wham, bam, thank ya ma’am, your ice cream is ready for the freezer.
If you’ve made any of my no churn ice creams in the past, you know that they are quite easy and come together with very few ingredients or kitchen equipment. This recipe is no exception. Besides the roasting of the cherries and time spent in the freezer, this recipe can be whipped up in less than ten minutes! This means that you get to spend less time in the kitchen and more time loving on someone important to you (Read: snuggling your man friend or planning your pending nuptials to Harry Styles).
Happy Monday to you all! If you try out this recipe, let me know what you think about it in the comments section below!
Greetings, earthlings. I am writing to you from a distant and remote place called motherhood. The land where sleeping hours are few, the air smells of sour milk, and tiny people undo every household task you attempt to accomplish. For example, that laundry you just folded? It’s now stuffed in the back of the toy box. Oh, and that diaper you just changed? Yeah, you’re gonna want to strap on some latex gloves for what’s going on in there now. And those new shoes you just bought? Well, they’re filled with puddles of spit up that poured off you shoulder, dripped down your back, and finally squished its way under the soles of your feet.
Don’t even get me started on nursing bras. Nothing says “I’m feeling sexy” like covering your utilitarian lady parts with thicks mounds of flesh-toned fabric that’s all rigged up with elastic and plastic hardware. Doesn’t that sound so attractive? Come at me, boys.
Don’t get me wrong- I am honored to identify as a mother. It’s the greatest and most triumphant joy I’ve ever known. But sometimes, Stella just needs to get her groove back, okay?
Almost a year ago, Brett and I were supposed to travel to Mexico. Refresh your memory of the tragic traveling disaster here if need be, but the CliffNotes version is that we lost a passport and had to cancel our trip the night before we were scheduled to leave. Thankfully, as luck would have it, yours truly and her no longer passportless hubby are leaving today for a redemptive trip to Mexico. Solo. No chi’rens. Hallelu-yer.
The glorious thing about this trip?
NO SPIT UP. NO DIAPERS. NO 3 AM WAKEUP CALLS. NO GRANNY PANTIES.
Just me, my man friend, the Mexican sunshine, and maybe one or four cocktails (before noon).
Yes, I will most certainly cry when we hug the babies goodbye. There may be some moments of homesick at night before bed. And let’s be honest, there’s no way I’ll be able to escape my bestie, the ever-present Medela breast pump. But I have the nasty habit of putting my marriage on the back burner for the sake of wearing my mama hat full time, so I need this trip. We need a breather.
Today I’m sharing a cocktail recipe with you. By the time this get posted, I will most certainly be on a beach with a cocktail in my hand, and since it’s Monday, I’m thinking you’re going to want to get in on this beverage action too.
Grapefruit Moscow mules are the drink of the minute in our house. My husband and I have been making these all summer, and I just can’t get over the spicy freshness that is the ginger beer and citrus combo. My summertime requirement for alcoholic beverages is lime and effervescence so grapefruit Moscow mules are on the money.
Once you know a good base recipe for a mule, you can create any number of beverages. My standby recipe is 1.5 ounces of liquor (traditionally vodka), 3/4 ounce of lime juice (about half of one big and juicy lime), and 4 ounces of ginger beer. From there, you can add fruit juice, trade out the vodka for flavored liquor like blood orange vodka or even bourbon like in this recipe, or add infused simple syrups to amp a sweet and subtle flavor.
These grapefruit Moscow mules have the summery addition of some grapefruit juice and just a touch of simple syrup so that those ginger beer bubbles don’t completely light you up, however, if you prefer ultra spicy mules, you can skip the syrup. This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, or even multiplied by 24 for a crowd (I’ve tried it!).
I hope you all have a terrific week, and take the chance to make some grapefruit Moscow mules this evening as a reward for making it through Monday. You’ve probably earned it.
Grapefruit Moscow mules are a spicy and refreshing take on the traditional mule, containing fresh grapefruit juice and a little sweetness from simple syrup. Make this recipe for one, or a little extra for a crowd!
1–1/2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce fresh grapefruit juice (the juice of about 1/4 of a grapefruit)
3/4 ounce lime juice (about 1/2 lime)
1/4 ounce simple syrup
4 ounces ginger beer
Combine vodka, fruit juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and fill to the top with ice. Shake well, about 30 seconds, and pour into a mule mug or highball glass. Add ginger beer and stir gently to combine. Garnish with grapefruit peel.
You can substitute bottled grapefruit juice here if you’d like. Just give it a taste prior to serving as it may need less simple syrup.
Are you sick of ice cream recipes yet? If your answer to that question is yes, my bet is that you’re either lactose intolerant or worse, not an ice cream lover. Either way, you may want to slowly back away from your computer screen because it’s about to get all creamy up in here. Today we’re talking no churn honey salted almond ice cream.
It’s hard to believe that up until one year ago I had never made ice cream. At the time, it seemed scary (all that churning business), unnecessary (because Blue Bell and Talenti, duh), and really challenging. Until last year, I was perfectly content chomping on Ben and Jerry’s and scooping up melty puddles of Mayfield. Such was life for me until a good friend gifted me her ice cream machine. This machine changed my kitchen ‘tude and brought me out of darkness and into the light. I found my new love.
If you have an ice cream maker that you use on a semi-regular basis then you already know what I mean. Homemade ice is so delicious and incredibly rewarding. But if you fall into the “no ice cream machine” or “no space in my kitchen cabinets for one more appliance I’ll never use” category, then look no further. Today’s recipe is for you. Ya welcome.
No churn ice cream is my new boo. It’s quick, simple, and easily made with equipment and ingredients that most home cooks have access to. If you have a can of sweetened condensed milk and a pint of whipping cream, CONGRATS, you’re halfway there! For a basic no churn vanilla ice cream, simply whip together the cream, milk, and a smidge of vanilla or liquor until stiff peaks form. That’s it! All done. Then it’s just some waiting on the clock while the fluffy vanilla goodness sets up in the freezer.
From there, the possibilities are endless. Mix in your favorite toppings (think brownie pieces like in this mocha brownie ice cream or cookie chunks like in this oatmeal cookie ice cream) for a super satisfying, homemade treat, or take it a step further by swirling in caramel, fruit syrups, or fudge. Just be careful to not add too much water via fruit juice or other liquids, as the ice cream can become too icy.
If you’ve got 15 minutes and a can opener, this no churn honey salted almond ice cream recipe is the perfect way to chill out. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stir the nuts, melted butter, and salt together in a small bowl to combine. Spread out on a sheet pan and bake in the oven, stirring occasionally, until toasted, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn. Allow to cool to room temperature.
To prepare the ice cream
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the whipping cream, honey, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla, and whip until stiff peaks form.
Fold in the nuts until evenly dispersed. Spread mixture out into a loaf pan or another freezer safe container. Cover and allow to freeze until solid, about 6 hours.
You can use any type of nut you prefer! I really like almonds, but walnuts, pecans, or even pistachios would taste brilliant here!
Use good quality honey. The honey really needs to shine here so use a variety that you enjoy the taste of.