Tuesday, June 25, 2013

DIY Ice Cream- without the machine!- Cookies and Cream

I came across a dangerous blog post on Kevin & Amanda...

...Homemade Ice Cream....

....without an ice cream machine....

Oh boy.

I used to make the ice/salt/plastic bag and shake kind of ice cream when I was younger. It was yummy, but the amount of effort and the occasional tear in the bag that resulted in super salty ice cream just didn't make it a worthwhile venture for regular homemade ice cream. K&A's recipe, on the other hand, is almost too effortless. Like...."I could probably stock an entire walk-in freezer in an afternoon" effortless.

I decided to start with a simple Cookies and Cream (aka mini-Oreos).

I then had to sign a legal document stating that I would only eat a few spoonfuls a day, and that I would not make another batch until this one was finished.

Try it with whatever mix-ins you're craving, or check out Kevin & Amanda's post for some recommendations- their Krispy Kreme Glazed Donut Ice Cream is next on my list.

Cookies and Cream without the Machine

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Cocktail Hour!

I've stumbled across a dangerous mix.

I decided to share the recipe for this tasty concoction in order to prevent myself from downing two of these babies back-to-back.

The original recipe called this drink 'Leeches'. That's a gross name for such a delicious drink, but at the moment I'm having trouble coming up with a replacement. Maybe if I make another, inspiration will strike....

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Saying 'Thank You'

I'm in the midst of a lengthy project at work. In order for it to succeed, I need everyone in my department to attempt to participate...something that is proving to be an uphill battle.

Thankfully, a few brave souls stepped up to the challenge and really went above and beyond. We're having a department meeting tomorrow, and I decided to acknowledge these kick-ass colleagues.

(And hey- if that also happens to light a fire under a few seats, I won't be complaining....)

I made a some chocolate chip cookies, wrapped them up in cellophane, and attached a little note of gratitude. Quick, cute, and a small token of my appreciation to the people who make my job a little easier.

Now get off the interwebs and go say thanks to someone!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Return of the Pink Cup

I love my pink cup.

It's held many a delicious thing.

It manages to look picturesque, even next to a pack of empty throat lozenges.

And it's the perfect vessel for my favorite smoothie...

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Laziest Recipes Ever: Toasted Ravioli

I should share with you the story of my first Toasted Ravioli.

It started with some serious dehydration after fencing practice in college.

Dehydration stupidly quenched with red wine.

Lots of red wine.

And followed by a 3 a.m. craving for something Italian-y.

Which led us to remember that a friend had gifted a bag of straight-from-St. Louis toasted ravioli to our freezer.

Man. It was a long time until I could even think about toasted ravioli after that night....

But toasted ravioli is one of those perfect 'social appetizer'- ya' know, one of those dishes that you can put on the coffee table while the game is on or conversation is hoppin', and it doesn't disrupt the flow like other appetizers of it's caliber- waiting to use the spoon for the artichoke dip, anyone?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Graduation is Grrrrrrrreat!

My little brother and sister had their high school graduation bash this past weekend. Despite a week of dreary weather, Sunday managed to be bright and sunny for their party.

Don't worry- the gloom promptly came back. Somewhere, a super villain is laughing maliciously and vowing that summer will never come to Minnesota.

Anyway. Shopping for girls is easy. Shopping for boys can be tricky.

I wanted to get the Bro something that was a little personalized, but still useful. He has a great sense of humor for utilizing joke gifts- one year, he wore the Christmas tuxedo speedo for the Polar Plunge!

I decided I would get him something that would certainly go to good use for a male college freshman: food.

I remember being in college and rejoicing over late-morning classes. I could sleep in, and the only price I had to pay was missing the dining hall hours. No biggie- I would just head to the campus café and buy a snack, or wait until lunch to use my meal plan. That would have worked so well, but I failed to take into account three things:

1. Campus cafes charge a ridiculous amount of money for minimal options and small portions.

2. I did not have a ridiculous amount of money in my bank account to afford the café prices on a daily or weekly basis.

3. I probably could have made it through my first class and on to lunch....if I hadn't schedule my classes in a whole continuous block from 10:00-3:00.

I don't want my dear Bro to suffer the same fate- especially because this is a kid who regularly has two or three oversized bowls of cereal each morning.


The Cereal-gram:

It reads:

"Now that you're about to begin your adult LIFE, it's time for some advice...

Don't be too much of a FROOT LOOP...

Or the kind of person who TRIX people just for KIX...

Keep your LUCKY CHARMS close...

And remember- you're the TOTAL package!

But cerealsly- always be prepared..."

If I hadn't been recovering from illness, I might have made it a bit more colorful and whatnot, but I think it turned out okay for being half-sedated and woozy on top of already being craft-impaired on a good day.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Minnesota Wine: Flower Valley Vineyard

“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.” – Galileo Galilei

Nestled in the bluffs of the Mississippi Valley, you’ll find a quiet little piece of land that seems more suited for an Italian countryside. Congratulations, you’ve found Flower Valley Vineyard- a remarkable winery in Red Wing, Minnesota that is producing some of the most intriguing wines this chick has ever had the pleasure of sipping.

In 2005, this family owned farm enjoyed it’s first harvest- a process that took only 45 minutes by hand. The harvest now takes four weeks (still all by hand with the help of community volunteers), with yields close to 40,000 pounds of grapes annually. Flower Valley tends to upwards of at least seven different types of vines- including another mutation of the Frontenac dubbed the Frontenac Blanc (one of four vineyards to have produced this grape, which they generously gifted to the University of Minnesota).

The tasting area opened last September, and if you’re a wine-lover in Minnesota you’ll do yourself a favor and stop in on a Saturday afternoon, or plan ahead and treat yourself and your friends to a private session hosted by the lovely Mary.  


2012 Blend (‘Joyce’s Blend’)

                A first impression of oak is subtly cut by a fresh, grassy note- almost reminiscent of the scent of sun-warmed wood. The hint of vanilla that touches the tongue with the first sip is short-lived, followed promptly by a refreshing pineapple that rounds into something smooth, yet bright.

Frontenac Gris, 2012

                This Riesling style white is a curious delight of succulent fresh strawberry and savory smoke. The exciting strawberry scent would rival that of a fresh picked berry, and the smoky undertones that follow on the finish make this wine the perfect companion for a bit of prosciutto.

Marquette, 2011

                A luscious Pinot Noir style red, the Marquette 2011 is tannin-rich and oak soaked to perfection. A cold slate and sharp pepper backbite are polished with black currant and berry and bound together with a sliver of smoke. Mary joked that this is a ‘three sip’ wine. On the first sip, your tongue will say ‘What did you do to me?’, the second sip: ‘I kind of like this…’, and the third: ‘Oh….I really like this’.

She was spot on. I bought two bottles.