Friday, August 16, 2013

dulce de leche gelato

I intended to share this recipe on Wednesday, but somehow I was too busy to get to it.

And by "somehow," I mean I haven't been able to stop reading Gone Girl.
Every time I look at the clock, it's almost 1:00 AM and I'm asking myself how this happened again.
Don't you love that though?
When a book is so good you just get sucked into it?
If you haven't read Gone Girl, I recommend going to grab a copy right now.
The perfect weekend read!

And while you're at it, make this gelato to eat while you're reading.
Then you'll be exactly like me.

Because obviously that's what I've been doing.

Things you'll need:

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 16 oz. jar Dulce de Leche
{Feel free to make your own Dulce de Leche - I just happened to have a jar given to me that I was itching to use! Here are some ways to do it yourself, if you're interested!}

Over medium heat, bring milk and cream not quite to a boil - until there are bubbles around the edge of the saucepan, just before the boil.
Add vanilla extract.
Remove saucepan from heat, and whisk in Dulce de Leche until completely incorporated.

Transfer mix to a Tupperware container and refrigerate uncovered for an hour, stirring occasionally.
After the hour, cover the container and refrigerate for another 3-4 hours, until completely chilled.

When chilled, follow manufacturer's ice cream maker.
With my Cuisinart ice cream maker, it was ready after 30 minutes.
Transfer into freezer-safe containers {I use these!}, and freeze to desired consistency.

This was so great because it was incredibly simple to make.
I prepped the base in 20 minutes, went to the pool for a few hours while it chilled, and came home to have homemade gelato in 30 minutes!
My favorite part of this recipe is that there are no eggs, so you don't have to worry about accidentally making scrambled eggs in your hot base mix.

I take that back.
My favorite part is that there's only four ingredients.
That alone made it a no-brainer for me.

So get to churnin', friends.

What are you up to this weekend?
J and I are visiting his parents and taking it easy mostly.
I'll also be doing a little shopping, because {here's the big announcement} I'm starting a new job on Monday!
I'll give more details on it later, but I'll be working in the HR department and I couldn't be more excited!
That deserves a new outfit, right?

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

zucchini and rice soup

I've figured it out.

Exactly how to make yourself feel better when you're having a terrible, terrible day.

Number one, get a dog.
There is nothing that makes me forget my troubles quite as much as seeing how excited my dog is that I'm home.
I mean seriously, is there anything better than that?

Two, fill yourself up with comfort food.
My comfort foods of choice today: zucchini and rice soup, followed by caramel gelato straight out of the pint.
{Get ready people, the gelato recipe is coming and it's going to shock you it's so easy!}

This solution is, of course, an alternative to wine {because everyone knows wine and chocolate solve all problems}.

This soup is so surprisingly delicious.
I've made it twice in the last week, that's how good it is.
And if I'm making soup in the dead of summer, then you know it must be good because soups are usually reserved for cold, rainy days mid-fall or winter over in these parts.

J isn't the biggest fan of zucchini, which made me a little nervous when first making this.
But even he has jumped onboard the zucchini train.
We're eating it up over here.

recipe adapted via

Things you'll need:

2 lbs zucchini {about 5-6 medium, or 7-8 small}, sliced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2-3/4 cup white rice, uncooked
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a large, deep pot.
Saute onions until translucent and slightly golden brown.
Add sliced zucchini and chicken broth, and bring to a boil.
Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for 12 minutes, until zucchini is tender.

Using an immersion blender {I use this one}, puree zucchini and onion until smooth.
{If you don't have a hand blender, you can do this in a regular blender in batches.}
Add uncooked rice, and bring to a boil again.
Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until rice is tender and cooked thoroughly.

Add heavy cream, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine.

Serve with slices of fresh baked French bread or your favorite grilled sandwich!

We seriously love this stuff.
It's so creamy and warming, and it doesn't taste overwhelmingly like zucchini.
Which I find strange, since zucchini is by far the ingredient used in the largest quantity.

I have been buying the take-and-bake French baguettes from Kroger, and we have found that these pair perfectly with this soup.
Once baked, they're crunchy on the outside and spongy enough in the middle to absorb the creamy goodness.
I definitely recommend them!

I don't think the pictures here really do it justice, so you'll just have to trust me.
If you're in the mood for something comforting but don't want to spare the calories or endure the guilt, this is the perfect compromise.
Then you can feel good about eating dessert!

Tomorrow, we talk gelato.

Monday, August 5, 2013

the easiest fresh peach crisp

How was your weekend?

So many great things happened here, I hardly know where to start!

My sweet friend, Tiff, brought me an iced hazelnut macchiato and some dulce de leche to use with my new ice cream maker.
Not a bad way to start a Friday.
Not bad at all.

Boyfriend finally bought a grill {a huge grill, mind you}, which obviously led to...

...grilling everything in sight.

More exciting news...
J and I became an aunt and uncle!

Okay, faux-aunt and faux-uncle.
But that's just as important, right?
I mean, we got pins and everything!

Congratulations, July and Michael!
We love you and your little one and can't wait to come visit again soon!

With all of these fun things happening, on Sunday night I thought it was only fair that we have some kind of treat after dinner.
A sweet ending to a sweet weekend.

The only thing is...
I'm not a huge dessert person.

I know.
You're probably wondering what on earth I'm talking about right now.
Don't get me wrong.
I love sweets {particularly chocolate} as much as the next girl.
But if given the choice, I'm much more likely to choose frozen yogurt or a fruity dessert in the place of a slice of cake.

Unless that cake is cheesecake, in which case all bets are off.

Since it was so humid outside {and there was no cheesecake in sight}, I knew the perfect dessert was a fruit crisp.
And what better fruit to use to beat the Georgia heat than peaches?
Nothing screams summer treat to me than fresh peaches covered in crispy topping.

Things you'll need:

3-5 fresh peaches, sliced
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup-1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon {optional}


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice and arrange peaches in the baking dish of your choice.  I used a small baking dish {probably 4x6ish}, so three large peaches allowed me to do two layers of slices.
Combine oats, brown sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.
{I used a cup of brown sugar, which made the crisp more sweet and gooey. Feel free to use half a cup if you'd like!}
Cut butter into the dry mixture until it forms small pebbles.
Sprinkle mixture over the peaches and bake for 40 minutes, until fruit is tender and topping is crispy.
Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, and enjoy!

This turned out absolutely delicious and was so incredibly easy.
I'm lacking more pictures because initially I wasn't planning on sharing the recipe.
But it turned out well enough that I decided I just had to.
It wouldn't be fair for you not to enjoy an easy crisp this summer with the abundance of sweet fruit surrounding us!

So there.
Go make this and enjoy the last little bit of summer we have.
Because before we know it, it'll be tailgate season - the season of salty snack foods.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

spicy mexican sweet potatoes

Sometimes when Joe is traveling for work, I go crazy and eat every delicious thing I can find.

And by "delicious thing," I mean every food he won't allow me to regularly incorporate into our meals.
Like avocado.
Or black beans.
Or carmelized onions.
Or sour cream.

The list goes on and on.

These things aren't allowed in our regularly scheduled dinner rotation because Joe allegedly doesn't like them.
Which is why my life mission is to find ways to trick him into eating said foods.
I'm sorry, but if I haven't seen you try it, I'm not going to believe you don't like it.
That's just how it is.

Luckily for him, he was out of town when I found the recipe for these babies.
Not so lucky for him, I'm now obsessed with them.
Obsessed, as in I've eaten them for dinner and two lunches just this week.
That's three meals in one week, people.

That's how good these are.

recipe adapted via
Things you'll need:

3 medium-sized sweet potatoes
2 ears of fresh sweet corn
1 can low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp butter
1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, pureed in a food processor
1 oz light cream cheese
1/4 cup light sour cream
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
shredded cheese {I used a hot pepper blend, but Colby Jack, Monterey, Pepperjack, name it, it will work!}

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake sweet potatoes for 45-60 minutes, until tender and easily poked with a fork.
While potatoes are baking, use a sharp knife and remove corn from the ears.
Add to a hot skillet {with no butter or oil!} and roast for 10 minutes or so, turning every 3-4 minutes until lightly browned.

Put roasted corn in a bowl with black beans.
Saute chopped onion in butter until soft and translucent, and add to corn/bean mixture.
Set aside.

Once potatoes have cooled for 5-10 minutes, scoop out the flesh and add it to a mixing bowl with cream cheese, sour cream, pureed chipotle peppers, and salt.
{Side note: feel free to use less chipotle peppers if you want it to be less spicy!}
I like to leave a thin layer of potato inside the skin so they're easier to handle.
Fold in corn, black beans, onions, and cilantro.

Spoon mixture into potato skins.
Don't be afraid to pile it on!
You will definitely have some mix leftover, but that's okay because it's really delicious on it's own.

Now, do the only thing that could make this dish any better than it already is.
Sprinkle on your cheese of choice.

Pop them under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until cheese is brown and bubbly.

This recipe made six potato skins.
I had two for dinner, then wrapped each of the leftovers individually in foil and refrigerated them.
These hold up incredibly well and taste as good the next day as they do fresh.
Throw them in the microwave for two and a half minutes, and you have a delicious lunch the next day!
And the day after that...

The best part is that each potato skin rings in at right under 200 calories.
And they are so filling!
Also, the mixture of sweet and spicy is spot on.
I've never been big on mixing the two, but this just feels and tastes right.

These would be great to make during meal prep for the week, if you're into that kind of thing.
I'm more of a prep-the-night-before kind of girl, but one day I'll do a whole week of prepping.
One day.

How's your week going?

Besides being home alone and eating multiple sweet potatoes, mine has been pretty uneventful.
Except today, when I made the most exciting impulse buy ever.

picture via

Who says summer is almost over?

Not this girl!