Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sour Cherry Ice Cream

I've never met Lindsay Clendaniel of Scoop Adventures in real life, but I started following her blog a few years back when I was feeling a bit "homesick" and started searching for blogs about New Orleans. She was living there at the time, and although she wasn't really posting anything about the city, her beautiful photos and intriguing ice cream recipes immediately drew me in. Every time I visit her site I find at least three recipes I want to make RIGHT NOW! (Peppermint Cookie or Black Raspberry Chip anyone?) And if you take the time to scroll through my Frozen Deliciousness board on Pinterest, you'll find an absurd number of pins from Lindsay's blog. (For real, sometimes I feel like a bit of a stalker...) So of course I was thrilled when Lindsay asked me to be part of the blog tour for her new cookbook, Scoop Adventures: The Best Ice Cream of the 50 States!

The day her cookbook arrived on my doorstep, we had just gotten a few fresh inches of snow. After a winter that saw us hitting temperatures at or below 0°F for 53 days, you'd think the last thing I'd want to think about was ice cream, but that night I curled up in bed with Lindsay's book and read the whole thing cover to cover! (Well, not the WHOLE thing. I didn't read the ingredients and instructions for each recipe, but I did read all the yummy descriptions. Is that weird?) 

Most of Lindsay's book is dedicated to recipes she's collected from ice cream shops around the country (at least one from each state). I'm embarrassed to say I still haven't tried the Dark Chocolate Zin from Izzy's Ice Cream here in Minnesota. I know they've been serving it at the State Fair for a few years now and every year I walk into the Minnesota Wine Country booth with the best intentions...but usually leave with a flight of local wines instead of the scoop of Izzy's ice cream I went in for. I won't make that mistake/totally-not-a-mistake again. This summer I'll get both!

At any rate, Scoop Adventures is filled with beautiful photos and lots of great recipes I can't wait to try! I think I'll start with Blueberry Mojito, Huckleberry, Mayan Chocolate, Honey Sunflower Seed, and Rosemary Honey Walnut, and I'm dying to make the Purple Cow and Peanut Butter & Jelly ice cream for my kids! For the blog tour though, I picked Sour Cherry...

I'm not sure where I thought I was living when I agreed to mix up a batch of sour cherry ice cream in April, especially when the recipe calls for fresh cherries which aren't in season in Minnesota until the end of July. #rookiemistake Luckily, Lindsay assured me that I could substitute frozen sour cherries, and after stopping at four different grocery stores, I finally found some organic ones at Whole Foods! (Her recipe also gives instructions for substituting sweet cherries if that's the best you can find.) I usually prefer chocolate or minty ice creams, but this was sooo good. I shared a little bit with the family and ate the rest myself

Colorado Sour Cherry Ice Cream
Makes 1½ quarts (1.4 L)

Inspired by the vibrant red sour cherries grown on the western slopes of Colorado, this flavor packs a punch with elements of tart, sweet and tangy. Sweet Action creates ice creams made with fresh and seasonal ingredients, so the owners only feature this gem of a flavor on their menu when cherries are at their peak season. Lucky for you, they have chosen to share their recipe so you can make this ice cream whenever cherries are in season near your home.

3 cups (465g) sour cherries, pitted
1 ¼ cups (250g) sugar, divided
1 tbsp (15ml) lemon juice
2 cups (473ml) heavy cream
1 cup (237ml) whole milk

Combine cherries with ¾ cup (150g) of the sugar and lemon juice. Allow the cherries to macerate in the refrigerator for approximately 6 hours, stirring every hour. Purée the macerated cherries in a blender. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the cherry skins; reserve the juice. Reserve 2 tablespoons (30g) of the cherry skins and discard the remaining skins.

Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. Combine the remaining ½ cup (100g) sugar with the heavy cream and whole milk and place over medium heat. Bring the milk mixture to a low boil. Cook until the sugar dissolves, 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer to a medium bowl and set in the ice water bath to cool, 20 minutes, whisking occasionally. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

When you are ready to churn, combine the reserved sour cherry juice and the milk mixture in an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When churning is near completion, add the reserved cherry skins (adjust based on personal preference). Complete churning, transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

Note: If you cannot find sour or tart cherries, you may substitute sweet cherries. To prepare the cherries, pit and halve before macerating. Add ½ teaspoon citric acid during maceration. The ice cream will not taste exactly the same, but it will still be tart and delicious.

Recipe from Scoop Adventures by Lindsay Clendaniel  
(Page Street Publishing; March 2014)
Printed with permission

And hey, there's a giveaway! You have three chances to enter, but first you must leave a comment below with the most adventurous flavor of ice cream you've tried so far. (I can't remember mine, but I'm pretty sure it had beer in it.) Then click on the Rafflecopter widget to confirm that you've commented and unlock additional ways to enter. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be chosen by a random drawing and notified by email within 24 hours of the close of the contest. If no response is received within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

Disclosure: I was given a free copy of the cookbook to review, but it was already on my Amazon wishlist when they contacted me, so I would have bought it anyway. Did I mention I stalk Lindsay's blog

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Edith's 1st Birthday

Last month Edie turned one. Of course we had to throw a party to celebrate! 

I've had plans to make a mobile of paper hearts to hang over Edie's crib for awhile now, and since her birthday is so close to Valentine's Day I just decided to work those hearts into the decor. I chose patterned papers in aqua, yellow, and pink because those are the colors I wanted for her mobile, and they felt girly without being too valentine-y. I bought some scrapbook paper and a stack of cardstock cards at Michael's to make the paper hearts. 

For the invitations, I found a chalkboard background online and added the white text in Photoshop using a font called Rudiment. I printed them on the cardstock cards I had bought for making hearts (similar to these but different colors). The cards were 7x10 inches with a fold down the middle, so I was able to print two 5x7 invitations per page. It worked great and as an added bonus, each invitation had a pretty pattern on the back instead of just plain white. Once the cards were printed, I attached the hearts with a piece of double-sided tape and then stitched them in place with a needle and thread. (It helps to poke the holes where you want them to be before trying to sew through the paper!)

I also stitched a heart to the back of each envelope before I mailed them off. Sometimes I get carried away with my needle and thread...

I'm happy to say that I actually completed Edie's monthly photo project for the first year! I fell behind on her written monthly updates, but I did keep track of what she was doing each month so I can still add those to her baby book. Of course I had to print out all the pictures and hang them on the wall! I still can't get over how much older she looks in that final picture... (You can get a closer look at all the photos right here.)

Our only other party decorations were the big paper hearts I cut from the same paper I used for the invitations, which my niece hung all over the house. Some of them are still up!

I took the final picture of her monthly photo project on her actual birthday, but I had to get a few pictures of Edie in her party dress on the day of the party. I love that smile! 

It seems like I always make a pinata for Abe's birthday, but since we'll probably be spending most of Edie's birthdays indoors, I wanted to start some kind of tradition that wouldn't leave my living room whacked to pieces. Since it will probably always be cold on her birthday, a cocoa bar seemed like a good option. We set it up in the living room in front of our chalkboard wall with her monthly photos.

Instead of stocking up on mugs or using disposable cups for our cocoa bar, I just made sleeves out of gray felt for my collection of 8 oz. canning jars. I stitched a paper heart to each one, and ended up with a cute set of glasses that can handle hot or cold drinks!

To flavor the cocoa, I set out a variety of mix-ins - candy canes, vanilla hearts (made from candy melts leftover from Abe's dinosaur dig cake), cinnamon sticks, caramel bits (I found them in the baking aisle next to the square caramels - these ones melted easier and didn't need to be unwrapped!), chocolate sprinkles, homemade marshmallows, whipped cream, and turbino sugar and cream for the people drinking coffee. I also put out some cute heart-covered straws from Target to use as stir sticks.

I love homemade marshmallows in cocoa, but my favorite combination was caramel and cinnamon with whipped cream and sprinkles!

And yes, the cocoa bar was a huge hit!

For brunch we served baked french toast, mini fritattas, bacon hearts, and fresh fruit. Noah picked up the flowers for Valentine's Day. 

We just set the food out on the table, but I still made a little menu card for each dish. 

The only dish that got the full Valentine's Day treatment was the bacon. It wasn't too hard to make the heart shaped bacon, and I was able to fit a lot more on a pan that way, so that felt like a win-win. Also, heart-shaped bacon. Who doesn't love that? 

Noah and Abe went to the party store that morning and bought a couple balloons for Edie. She is obsessed with balloons so she wanted to hold them all day. Eventually we had to put both of the ribbons in one hand so she could use her other hand to eat lunch!  

In addition to our cocoa/coffee bar, I also set up a Bloody Mary bar - because what is brunch without a Bloody Mary? We didn't make very many Bloody Marys, but most of the olives, meat sticks, and cheese cubes disappeared as the kids kept walking past my set up on their way to play in the basement...

Abe was in charge of deciding when it was time to open presents...and helping open them!

While printing up the photos for Edie's monthly photo project, I kept coming across other favorite photos that I'd taken of her and Abe throughout the year. I loved the photo collage I put on our magnetic wall for Abe's second birthday, so I figured I'd just update the wall with photos of Edie. 

I stuck paper hearts on all my magnets and printed my favorite photos as 4x6s (or 4x4s if they were from Instagram) which I'll eventually put in an album or her baby book. I also hung some mini Instagram magnets that I made a while back, and a postcard from 1canoe2 that seemed appropriate for my girl that loves to climb. It's so much fun and a bit bittersweet to look back on the last 12 months this way...

Wasn't this taken like yesterday?!

As usual, the cake was just boxed cake mix and store-bought vanilla frosting topped off with some paper hearts. I don't know why I always frost chocolate cakes with white frosting. Someday I'll learn... 

Edie loves blueberries, so I made a blueberry curd for the filling of her cake. It was so good! My mom wants the recipe so I'll have to post it soon. 

We used our regular dishes for brunch but I never seem to have enough small plates for cake, so I picked up these polka dotted ones and the napkins from Target. The colors make me think of summer and as it turned out we had a beautifully sunny day for the party. It was cold and snowy outside, but it felt warm and festive inside!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Treasure Map/Pirate Valentines

I am totally on top of things these days. Can you tell? Abe's class party was on the Tuesday before Valentine's Day. I made these valentines and took these pictures before that party (let's say on Monday the 10th, although it might have been that Sunday which I thought was Monday until my husband got out of bed and didn't go to work that morning). It's been a long winter. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that it's taken me a good two weeks after taking these pictures (and a week and a half after Valentine's Day) to actually post them. Honestly, I'm a little surprised it didn't take me longer. I mean, it's still February, right?

At any rate, Abe's been really into pirates lately, so for his class valentines we made treasure maps with pirate-y messages.

I actually drew a large map with pencil and painted it with watercolors, then shrunk it down so I could print 4 maps per page, and added text using Photoshop. While searching for the perfect pirate font, I realized I'd already downloaded a great one called Monsterfreak before Halloween. I love the skulls!

For his class, we rolled up the maps, sealed them with a sticker, and stuck them in little muslin bags with a few chocolate gold doubloons. (I found the bags in the wedding section at Michael's. They were kind of expensive - $5.99 for 12 I think - so be sure to use those 50% off coupons!) 

Abe helped me count out the doubloons and put them in the bags...while saving a few for himself of course. 

Edie loves the Mardi Gras beads that I pulled out for when they play pirates, so that would have been a good candy-free option. 

I also found some pirate themed temporary tattoos at Target that we gave to his cousins since we ate too many only had enough gold doubloons for his classmates. We also had a book of Jake and the Neverland Pirates stickers that Abe used to further decorate our maps. He mostly stuck the characters on the X or the pirate ship.

He signed the back of each one with an "A" which was fun to watch. For most of them he basically made an H and then drew a second line to attach the lines at the top. Sometimes he'd draw a straight line, other times it was scribbley. Reminded me of when I was little and all my Es looked like combs!

So those are our valentines this year. I'm posting this way too late for Valentine's Day, but maybe I'll post a downloadable version or something next year. Since it's pretty much done I could even post it early...maybe.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy Birthday, Noah!

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably already seen the cake we made for Noah's birthday. If not, here it is...

Abe really wanted to make a Star Wars cake with "Tordy Tordy Two (R2D2), Free CPO, Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Lando Car-Vivien (he has two Viviens in his class), and Han Solo" for his dad's birthday. 

Noah and Abe have quite a few Star Wars Lego sets, so we added a few more of the figures from their collection. Besides, what kind of Star Wars cake is complete without Boba Fett...and Darth Vader?

It seemed that there were two easy options for frosting the cake...either cover it with white frosting to make it look like the snowy planet of Hoth, or cover it with graham cracker "sand" to replicate the desert planet of Tatooine. Since none of our minifigures looked like they were dressed for winter weather I decided to make Tatooine. It's just like the s'mores cake I made for Abe's dinosaur party but, instead of marshmallow frosting, I used cream cheese frosting under the graham cracker crumbs. To help the minifigures stand up I attached them to small Lego plates (I think 4x6 or 8) that I ran through the dishwasher and buried under the graham cracker sand. (You can see it peaking through by Princess Leia's feet.)

Since Tatooine has two suns (man, I wish Minnesota had two suns!), I made a couple tissue paper pom-poms (find the instructions over at 6 Bittersweets) to stand in for the setting suns.

To surprise Noah, we also picked up a few balloons at the party store. I told Abe he could pick out a special one and mentioned that they might have some Star Wars balloons. He told me, "I want to get my dad a Darth Vader balloon!" They had a couple Darth Vader options but neither one was very cool, so Abe picked out a red Angry Bird instead. Edie's become pretty attached to it...

Friday, January 31, 2014

Football Stamps

My team (the Denver Broncos) is going to the Super Bowl and I'm not planning a party. What is wrong with me!? Perhaps it's because it's harder to actually watch the game when your house is full of people...and I intend to watch this game! (So if you're looking for party ideas you can check out our Super Bowl party from a couple years ago.) The best I've got for today is a football themed art project for kids.

1. Use a white charcoal pencil or paint pen to draw field lines and numbers on a sheet of green construction paper. 

2. Fold an empty toilet paper roll in half and let it pop back up to make a football shape. 

3. Dip the end of the toilet paper roll in brown paint and stamp footballs on the field.

4. Hang it up as is, or fold it in half to use as a greeting card for your favorite football fan!

Have a great weekend, and if you're watching, enjoy the game!

Friday, January 17, 2014


I haven't been taking as many pictures with my phone lately (mainly because the memory card is full and I never have time to clear it off), so here's some of my favorites from the last few months. Fall already seems so long ago...

For more details on any of the photos above, follow me on Instagram @michelledupuis, or check out my Instagram profile on the web at You can also see all of my semi-monthly collages of favorites right here.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Christmas Morning

The other day as I was undecorating our tree Abe told me "You're RUINING Christmas!" To be fair, I waited until well after Christmas to take down the tree.

He was so excited for Christmas this year. When we brought our tree home he couldn't wait to put the star on top. I think it was like the second thing up there after the lights and ribbon. 

We made a gingerbread house a few days before Christmas. Abe spent a short time decorating it and then watched me finish it off while he ate leftover frosting.

Once he put the peppermints in place he declared it "Done. Ta-da!"

On Christmas Eve, we went to mass with the rest of Noah's family, then had their traditional Christmas Eve dinner of sausages and various appetizers (I made these mini pork pies - they were just like my mom's only smaller). After dinner the kids opened a few presents from their cousins and spent some time tracking Santa before we headed home.

Staying out late the night before meant the kids slept in a bit the next morning (Edie's usually up with the sun), so this is what our tree looked like early Christmas morning. I was the first one up.

Apparently, Santa doesn't wrap presents around here, and he uses pre-owned vehicles...

...and dolls handmade by mom to make his gifts more appealing. Cheater. (At least he assembled the toys and disposed of the boxes for us!)

I love Abe's reaction to opening presents. Everything is always "just what I wanted!" even if he's never thought of or seen it before in his entire life.

Edie seemed happy with her new stroller, although she was much more interested in climbing Abe's parking garage than walking her doll. 

Here they are checking out their stocking stuffers. (The gum was not in Edie's stocking.)

Abe picked out some presents for us at the church fair he went to with his cousins and grandma a couple weeks before Christmas. I was sort of surprised that he didn't spill the beans right away, but the next morning he informed me (without my asking of course), "I got you a head bow! And I got daddy a alligator, and a book about whales for Edie-pie!" Upon opening his gifts on Christmas Eve, we discovered that he had gotten me a plastic headband (to control my "scary" and "crazy" hair no doubt), a Christmas tree pen for his dad, and a counting book with a whale on the cover for Edie. :-)

For the most part, Edie wasn't too interested in the presents under the tree until it was time to open them. Ever since we put up the tree though, she's been pulling ornaments off of it, which is why we only put soft and unbreakable ornaments on the lower branches. At least she didn't attempt to climb it!

Here's Abe unwrapping the trike he got from my parents. Apparently, counting down the days with our advent calendar made Abe quite eager for Christmas to arrive. My dad's birthday is the week before Christmas and when I mentioned to Abe "today is Papa's birthday" he was quick to ask "But what about Jesus' birthday?!"

We unwrapped most of the bigger presents at home and then packed up the rest and headed to Grandma's house to spend Christmas morning with the rest of Noah's family. 

Edie was so tired, but she wasn't going to let herself fall asleep and miss ANYTHING!

We got Abe the pirate ship, Bucky, from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. He first saw it at Target (long before he'd ever seen the cartoon) and if anyone (including Santa Claus) asked him what he wanted for Christmas he'd say "Yo Ho Let's Go's pirate ship." He came up with the name because the ship talks and when he'd press the button at Target it would say "Yo ho let's go!" or play the theme song from the show. He was super excited to unwrap it at Grandma's house on Christmas morning, and spent the rest of the morning playing with his pirate ship (even before we took it out of the box) and with the smaller one that his cousins sent to him. I guess pirates are his new favorite thing. He's even started calling me "Matey!"