I’m gearing up for back to school. It’s in 11 days (not that I’m counting or anything. Totally counting who am I kidding). During the school year I bake A LOT of cookies. Not everyday because honestly I’m not June Cleaver, I don’t even look good in an apron and Bobby pins hurt my head. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming. I TRY to have homemade cookies for the kids at least once a week. Nothing like seeing their faces light up when they walk in from school, drop their bags, shoes and everything else on the floor, sigh, and see a tiered tray of cookies waiting on them. Serious Mom bonus points I tell you, and I can use all that I can get.
Am I the only one who feels like this summer has flown by? I blinked and it’s August. Since school let out back in June we have tried to squeeze in as much family fun as possible. We have visited the mountains of Virgina and the beaches of North Carolina and then last week we all boarded the Carnival Fantasy compliments of Carnival and took off for for 5 days to the beautiful blue Bahamas for our last big hoorah before school starts back in 11 days (not that I’m counting or anything ehem). This warm chocolate Nutella melting cake is what’s helping me get over my end of summer blues and I think it will help you too.
Did you know that I am indeed a Georgia peach? Yes I was born in Georgia. Naturally this means that I love peaches, otherwise they kick you out of the state (okay that is not true but it was fun to say). I also love (and probably overuse) the phrases “peachy keen”, “she’s a peach” and “peach out”. They have nothing to do with this ice cream recipe they are simply further proof of my love of peaches.
I get really excited when I see figs in the market. Practically giddy. Okay completely giddy. Since they’re only available for a short time I load up when I find them. With the first score of the season I always make FIG PRESERVES. This way we have them to tide us over until next season. This year I even planted a fig tree. I’m praying it makes it through winter and eventually will produce fruit. If not I may cry. Luckily I will be crying with fig preserves in hand if so. Silver lining people.
You would never guess by simply looking at this cake but there is Zucchini buried in there underneath that deep dark decadent chocolate. Scandalous, I know. Please don’t tell my kids about this. I try to get as many vegetables in them as possible and they absolutely adored this cake. On another note, does putting zucchini into cake means it’s considered health food? Because if so then I’m definitely on board with health food.
You’d think we were considering opening up an ice cream shoppe the way we’ve been churning out frozen treats around here. Between the gelato, ice cream and sorbets our ice cream maker has been working over time this summer and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be slowing down anytime soon. Our Watermelon Sorbet was wildly popular (even Lauren Conrad thought so, yep she pinned it). I think this boozy blueberry thyme version will be as well.
I wasn’t kidding when I told you we were on a mission to see exactly how hard we could push our ice cream maker this season. We’ve already churned out a Watermelon Sorbet and a super sexy Strawberry Balsamic Gelato this season. Today, even though I’m not a ginger, we’re adding a little jiggle juice to the mix (for those of you who haven’t seen the movie Pitch Perfect just do it then you can join us in quoting the movie obsessively too. It’s aca-awesome, you’ll see). We’ve inebriated our raisins with rum and once they passed out, we dumped them into our vanilla ice cream base. Most definitely aca-awesome.
This might be the summer our ice cream maker breaks. It’s not quite July and we’ve been giving it a workout. You know the kind of workout like it’s early January when everyone flocks to the gym to keep to those New Year’s Resolutions? Yep, that kinda working out. Not that I would know anything about that. Up until today we’ve been making sorbets , like they were going out of style. Today we’ve taken 2 pounds of fresh strawberries and we’re taking a 180 to the creamier side of frozen treats. Can you say gelato?
We got lucky out of the gate this year. Why lucky? Well there’s always a chance when the melons come in that you’re going to get a watered down not so sweet version. Despite, thumping them, holding them, slapping them and every other thing anyone and their Grandma has ever said that will guarantee a GOOD melon, it’s just not the case (at least for me). I won’t know until I cut that baby open. Period. Today was a good melon day. Our first of the season was sweet, sticky and juicy. The boys devoured HALF of the melon instantly and I reserved the other half to make a luscious little frozen summer treat called sorbet.
I know that many of you can relate to being constantly on the go. Although I work full time blogging from home, I’m constantly in and out for both work and family errands. Grocery stores (yes plural), gas stations, dry cleaners, gas stations (have you seen the price of gas gah), school, after school activities, and the list goes on and on. Sometimes I think I live in my car as much as I do my house. My car also happens to be yellow, equating it to a taxi. Coincidence? Mmmh. Active is definitely a word that comes to mind when I think about the ins and outs of my days. Trying to balance my crazy schedule and eating things that don’t come from a drive thru is challenging.
Last June in Seattle was where I had my first taste of Copper River Salmon. I have my friend Angie to thank for that. She told me that it was just THAT GOOD and I needed to try it. When I saw it on the menu at the Four Seasons a day later I ordered it immediately and well to be honest I inhaled it in just about 2 minutes. It was THAT GOOD. I have been dreaming about that salmon ever since. I waited an entire year for a second taste. Angie was the smart one, she had an entire Copper River Salmon shipped back to her house. THAT GOOD.
These milk chocolate cookie sandwiches are for those days when you need something sweet and fast. Something to delight your tastebuds stat. It’s the type of treat that I keep in my back pocket (not literally because well that would be messy) when we want to celebrate something like a small achievement: a day without a talkative note at school, for picking up your clothes without being asked, OR because you just need chocolate and NOW. These sandwiches are for those moments. Finding delight in the small things. It’s a good thing.
I have a thing for cooked cream aka panna cotta. It sounds better in Italian. Everything sounds better in Italian. Go ahead and try. Everything sounds better. Whenever I have to make dessert and I’m in doubt, my go to is panna cotta. Always. Why? It’s delicious, it lends itself to ANY flavor combination (reading into I can use what I have in the house) and it’s silly easy to make. Now you know. I’m pretty sure I have almost a dozen recipes for panna cotta on this site. Clearly I don’t get tired of it and I hope you don’t either.
I love eating outside. Let me clarify, I like eating outside in the spring time when the weather is nice and the bugs haven’t started swarming. There’s something so relaxing about dining al fresco (so much fancier than just saying outdoors). Last weekend after years of complaining suggesting what an awesome idea it would be, we finally bought a small outdoor dining table for our deck. Since then we’ve eaten outside almost every night (read I was right) since and I couldn’t be happier.
(Disclaimer: I have been selected by Kraft Foods to be an ambassador for PHILADELPHIA cream cheese. While I have been compensated for my time, my opinions are my own.)
What’s not to love about a s’more right? Chocolate. Graham Crcakers. TOASTED marshmallows. All coming together to form one ooey gooey cohesive delicious fantastic mess. Wet wipes would come in handy here. There’s not just for babies you know. They’re completely and totally delightful.
Raisin and nut wha? Agrodolce. Agrodolce is Italian for sweet (dolce) and sour (agro). It happens to be one of my favorite combinations and is a lot like me depending on how my day is going. What don’t tell me you’re never moody? This sauce, and it’s actually more salsa or compote than sauce but let’s not split hairs I have enough of those, is something I could eat directly out the jar. But better not, it’s amazing topped on chicken, pork, lamb, OR even mixed into pasta. You know how much I like options.
You know grilling isn’t just for meats and veggies (and fruits, can’t leave out fruits, have you tried grilled peaches? Oh sweet drippy goodness do it!). Why let them have all the fun? You can make desserts on the grill too! Sure can. In fact you can make an entire meal on the grill. Besides having all that gorgeous grill flavor you’re not messing up the kitchen. That’s happy happy happy in my book. Anyone else hate doing dishes?
Finally grilling season is here. I’m just a tad bit excited about this after a VERY long winter. I love the smells that waft through the neighborhood as soon as the weather has heated up (and the pollen has past ugh). People are out walking the neighborhood (and gasp actually smiling and waving), flowers are blooming, the trees are filling in and grills are going strong. It’s a good thing.
We (and when I say we I mean my husband) like to grill a lot. It’s typically, chicken, ribs, with the occasional steak thrown in. It’s not that I have anything against steak, quite the contrary, bring on a hunk of perfectly cooked (for me) medium steak any day of the week if you’re paying ; ) If I’m paying it’s more of a special occasion meal. But guess what? Now it doesn’t have to be.
If I’m being honest, I have to admit that this whole having to wear shorts soon (let’s not even discuss the b word) is kind of freaking me out. It gets HAWT in Carolina people. So shorts are a necessity. One good thing about the weather is the fact that I don’t want to heat up the kitchen or the house for that matter. Cooking lighter meals is just easier for me in the spring/summer time. So what’s a girl to make besides salads? Seafood. I’ve always been a seafood fan. Fish, crab, mussels, shrimp, oysters, lobster. I’m in. The answer is always I’m in.
Apparently spring doesn’t know it’s spring because we’ve taken a u-turn and appear to be right back into winter. Who authorized this? Obviously I am not happy about this. I’ve had to turn the heater back on and pull out all of the scarves and boots I had put away for the season. The only good thing from this colder weather is I can enjoy soups a little longer. Silver lining. Silver lining. Now all I need is a silver spoon. Kidding. Kind of.