Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lavender ice cream

"Caution! When the herb of love releases its delicate flavor in smooth, custardy Lavender Ice Cream, someone you like may have a meltdown". (Fresh Home Magazine)
Case in point...

























I made two versions of it. One from Fresh Home Magazine and one from Epicurious. I liked the version from Epicurious better (hint...it makes more) but they were both really good.

Ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
2/3 cup mild honey
2 tablespoons dried edible lavender flowers*
2 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preparation:
Bring cream, half-and-half, honey, and lavender just to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, then remove pan from heat. Let steep, covered, 30 minutes.
Pour cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard lavender. Return mixture to cleaned saucepan and heat over moderate heat until hot.
Whisk together eggs and salt in a large bowl, then add 1 cup hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking. Pour into remaining hot cream mixture in saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat back of spoon and registers 170 to 175°F on thermometer, about 5 minutes (do not let boil).
Pour custard through sieve into cleaned bowl and cool completely, stirring occasionally. Chill, covered, until cold, at least 3 hours.
Freeze custard in ice cream maker. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.

Ah, stay tuned for a recipe for Lavender cookies....Also yummy...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Where do babies come from?

Duh? Everybody knows storks bring babies to you. But, have you ever seen a stork? I haven't until our last trip to France where we spotted this beauty on the top of a church's roof (with babies and all).





































We where taking a drive through Alsace's route-de-vin when we realized that it was not just a lucky break that we spotted one, but we came across a regional bird. They are depicted everywhere...






































What beauties they are... I feel so lucky to have seen them. So that brings me back to the original question of what to do next time my children ask me where do babies come from? I can say with confidence storks bring them to us (since I've seen them and all ;)) Totally reasonable, right?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More recycled notebooks



























I made two new sets of notebooks with recycled paper (you can see the first set here). I like to keep these notebooks scattered around the house to make notes and lists (I always keep one in my purse with my grocery list). Basically, I save all the paper that is blank in the back, add some card stock and scrapbooking paper (here is where all the extra scrapbooking supplies come in handy) and make these little notebooks. Give it a try if you like... Here is a link to the video.






































The second set was inspired by notebooks I saw in bookstores and souvenier shops in Paris.They were so beautiful but very expensive (I've also seen similar in Anthopologie... Those too were expensive). I wanted some so I made my own by using pretty wrapping paper that I found at a craft store.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Engineering Wonder

While surfing the internet I came across an article about engineering wonders and one of the wonders showcased was the gargoyles in the Notre Dame Cathedral. Per the MSN website "In Paris, most people experience the street view of the Notre Dame Cathedral. But search out the bird's-eye view to meet these Gargoyles. The Latin word 'gargoyle' translates to 'gullet' or 'drain,' and that's exactly what these strange looking creatures are: creative water drain pipes that keep run-off from the rain safely away from the foundation of the cathedral. This has been their job for more than 600 years".
Although a little scary they are fascinating. Check out some of the pictures we took while exploring Notre Dame Cathedral:





















To add to the mystery of the gargoyles we were there on a foggy morning...Very eerie feeling...An experience I will not soon forget...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Menu for the week

Laksa soup/salad
Ravioli with herbed sauce/salad
Stuffed meat loaf/herbed quinoa/salad
Split peas soup with tomato and spinach/salad

Breakdown:

Aldi/Kroger $39
Costo $4

I went shopping in my own pantry this week. I saved a bunch of money too! Go figure... I must try that more often.

I am also very excited, I will be making home made lavendar ice cream and pickling some cucumbers (we are growing them out the wazoo). They are both a first for me! I'll keep you posted on them.

Have a lovely weekend everyone, see you back here on Monday!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kids photos


How great is this picture? (you can see more here) They are by photographer Jan Von Holleben and I love them...All. So smart. I want to try this with my kids but knowing them I don't think they will cooperate, I can only dream...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Granola



The husband has made some awesome granola for all of us. We like to eat it for breakfast or to snack on with yogurt and fruit. It is so delicious! Here is his recipe for it:

Ingredients:

Oatmeal
Pinch of salt
Honey
Molasses
Sunflower seeds
Peanuts
Cashwes
Banana Chips
Raisins

Preparation:

Mix dry ingredients except for the dried fruit in the same bowl mix wet ingredients until all is coated. Form clumps in your hand and put in on a grease baking sheet. Bake at 275 and after 15 minutes add the dried fruit. Bake for another 15 min or until golden brown.

As you can see we did not use exact measurements. If you don't feel as adventurous as us you can follow this recipe from the Barefoot Contesa. It is also yummy.

Of course, there is no right or wrong way to make this. You can add any dried fruit or nuts that you like. Make a big batch and store in a resealable bag. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The language of childhood

Per Webster dictionany - Language is a systematic means of communicating ideas or feelings by the use of conventionalized signs, sounds, gestures or marks having an understood meaning. This could not be more clearly represented by children. While away in France our kids got the opportunity to interact on a regular basis with kids that did not speak English or Spanish. The language of children can be described as one of laughter and fun where the barriers that us adults create around each other do not exist and only play counts. Where they can bond over chasing frogs, picking up rocks and running around. I cherish these moments in my kids' lives...No walls to keep them from having fun...Only child play. 

Our friends the Knoepfles met us in Paris. What a great time we all had together. We enjoyed every minute - the kiddos especially...Our kids have known each other since they were born, but ever since they moved back to Germany we only get to see them once a year... You would not know by looking at these pictures.
They picked up right where they left off. So sweet! I really hope our kids can keep up with this relationship...We are already making plans for school abroad when the times comes...Go ahead, you can say it... Crazy to think that far ahead! but I truly hope they can do that...

Monday, July 19, 2010

I play photograher - Part I

Since I finished yet another dress before our trip to the beach (see the first one here) I decided to bring it for an impromptu photo session with my favorite model. I like the way this one turned out too (just a little different, not too much). I am really loving this recycle idea...
























































































































The hat is mine. It was her idea to use it. She is too funny... I have to say, it does not get old when your daughter tells you how awesome you are for making her "new dresses". It is so sweet how little things make my girly so happy. She is so proud of her mama as she tells everybody her mom made her a new dress!

PS. I really want to kick myself for not taking a before picture of the dress. A really cute halter dress that she's had since she was 3 (and still fits in the chest area because it has elastic... But it was too short)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Menu for the week

Green lentils soup/crostini/salad
Beef tacos with all the fixings/rice and beans
Risotto primavera/salad
Pizza with all vegetable toppings/salad

Breakdown:
Aldi/Kroger $44
Costco $13

Long to-do list for the weekend including:

Replenishing my freezer-ready cookie dough stash
Some decorating/house keeping
Some sewing and crafting (I have not touched my sewing machine in months...I may have to be dragged to do the other things I need to do)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mail boxes

In every shape, form and color you can imagine. I could not get enough of them!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Her travel journal

I have beed dying to share this with all of you friends! I have to give the husband full credit for coming up with this idea. He talked V into keeping a travel journal in which she could make drawings of things that she liked. He made sure to remind her to do so when we were in new places but by the end of the third day she was drawing whenever inspiration struck. I made sure I documented the process. I hope you enjoy this little slide show:

















By the way, I cannot tell you how many complements she got from this little exercise. People stopped to admire her art. She even inspired our little travel buddies Tom and Marc to do the same. I will treasure this travel journal forever. Now that we are back home she wants to start working on her scrapbook in which she not only will include drawings and pictures but also little tokens from her favorite places (favorite ice cream stores, favorite desert, favorite attractions). I will be showing you some of those pages as she completes them so be on the lookout for it later on.