Sunday, August 27, 2017

No Churn Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

It's been so dang hot here this summer that I find myself not really wanting to turn on the oven to bake. Shocking, I know. Don't get me wrong, I still bake, but I try not to do it as often when it's 105+ degrees for over a week. Ick. Is it Fall yet? I am so ready for cooler weather, sweaters, boots and scarves. Who's with me?

With this, I have turned to no-churn ice cream to cool down. Let me be the first to tell you that I have two ice cream makers and love a good homemade ice cream (and do does my hubby). But, there are two big problems with those things. One, you have to make the ice cream base ahead of time and let it cool. Two, you have to remember to freeze one of the ice cream inserts (and keep it frozen for 2-3 days). I don't always remember to do the latter since the darn thing takes up too much room in the freezer. Ice cream problems. Those are real problems, people!

In one of the many emails I get from fellow food bloggers, a no churn ice cream recipe caught my eye. How the heck did a no churn ice cream even work? Would it even be good? I totally thought you had to churn ice cream to make it light, airy and super creamy. Clearly I was way wrong. And even better, you can make this no churn peanut butter cup ice cream with only five (yes, I said five!) ingredients and in under 10 minutes. In under 10 minutes you will have some of the best ice cream you've EVER had. I kid you not. Let me tell you all about it and how to get this started in your kitchen right now!

To make any no churn ice cream, you'll first need sweetened condensed milk, whipping cream (ps. Costco has the best deal on heavy whipping cream!) and vanilla. But to make this peanut butter cup version, you will need the three ingredients I just mentioned, plus peanut butter and peanut butter cups. Once you've gathered all the ingredients (you may have most of them already!), you'll want to melt a portion of the peanut butter and keep aside. This will give you totally delicious peanut butter ribbons throughout your ice cream. Now who wouldn't want that?! This is the part that takes the ice cream over the top! While the peanut butter is cooling, you'll mix the rest of the peanut butter in to the sweetened condensed milk and then fold all of that into whipped cream. Make sure you are folding and not just stirring really fast or out of control. If you do that, the whipped cream will deflate and make the ice cream really sad. And you'll be sad too. We don't want that. Plus, the whipped cream is what makes this no churn ice cream possible! Who knew?! 

Once you've folded in the milk and peanut butter mixture in to the whipped cream, gently add in the peanut butter cups. If you are using mini peanut butter cups, just simply mix them in. If you are using regular sized peanut butter cups, make sure to chop them up a bit. Although, I wouldn't mind biting in to a huge peanut butter cup. I've also been known to pick them out of other ice creams instead of eating the actual ice cream. Oops. Don't worry - I don't do that anymore. That was an old, bad habit. Back to the ice cream. Then, you'll place half of the ice cream in a freezer safe container (I like to use a loaf pan lined with plastic wrap), drizzle on the melted peanut butter mixture, the rest of the ice cream and then a little more of the peanut butter drizzle. Swirl everything together and then place in the freezer for at least eight hours to harden up. I know the eight hours sounds like fooorrrreeevverrr, but trust me. It will be well worth the wait Promise!

After eight hours, you will have some of the best ice cream you've ever, ever had. I kid you not. Making no churn ice cream has found a permanent place in my home and I have tried several other versions since making this peanut butter one (oreo fudge swirl and nutella chocolate chip)! The hubby and I are addicted and we think you will be too! No more need for a fancy ice cream machine to make out of this world ice cream at home!

Hand me a spoon, please!!

No Churn Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream (slightly adapted from Handle the Heat)

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter, divided 
2 cups heavy cream, nice and cold
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 cup mini peanut butter cups, (if using regular sized cups, remember to chop them!)

In a large bowl combine the condensed milk and 1 cup of the peanut butter until smooth. Place the remaining 1/2 cup peanut butter in a heatproof bowl and microwave in 30-second increments until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream and vanilla on high speed until stiff peaks form. If you over beat, you will have butter and we won't want that for this recipe. Fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture until combined. You don't want to to see any white streaks from the whipped cream. Gently stir in the peanut butter cups. Layer the ice cream in a freezer-safe container with dollops and drizzles of the melted peanut butter. Once all of the ice cream and peanut butter is inside the container, use a knife to gently swirl the mixture. Top with more chopped peanut butter cups, if desired.

Cover the surface with plastic wrap before sealing the container. Freeze for at least 8 hours and then enjoy!

This ice cream will not last long in your freezer. You've been warned!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Okay, I've Been Hiding

Okay, I'll admit it, I've been hiding under a rock for over a year.  Has it really been that long since I last blogged? Dear lord. I am sorry. But, the good news is that I am just fine. In case you were worried. Hopefully you weren't.

A lot has been going on and most importantly (and why I took a break from blogging for awhile) is because I graduated grad school. FINALLY. I will not lie - it was a long and tough road. Between working full time, planning my wedding (more on that in a minute) and more sleepless nights than I care to remember, I made it. I can official say I now have my Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance. Despite graduating over a year ago, some days it does not feel real. I still feel as if I should be going to campus on the weekends to meet a group or getting up to my alarm at 4:30 am to study before going to work. During those two and a half years, I met some of the most amazing and inspiring classmates and faculty who pushed me to be a better person both inside and out. I could not have done it without my fellow classmates nor my husband. He saw the best of me and the worst of me during that time. While I was cranky from little to no sleep, he would make sure that I would take breaks (even though I didn't think I needed them) and make sure I remembered to eat. You do not want to see my hangry. That is not a good sight. I am not sure I would have made it through without him. Seriously. He deserves at least half of my diploma, if not more.

I would not have survived grad school without this group of amazing people!

Before I finished grad school, you may have noticed that the blog posts slowed down quite a bit. Well, not only was I working full time and going to school at night, but I was also planning a wedding. Crazy, right? Not sure what I was thinking at the time, but I did it. Wait no, we did it (my husband and I, that is)! While we had less than a year to plan our wedding, we were able to get it done relatively seamlessly and plan ahead as much as we could. We really took my summer break to heart and got done as much as we possibly could - favors, decoration shopping and more. My hubby was such a trooper. And through all of the planning and school work, I kept the crazy bride moments to a minimum. Really! There was only one true crying moment when I realized we had to remove a table at the last minute. Now that I look back on it, I have no idea why I was so upset and no one even knew that table had been removed. Oops. But hey, that's pretty good, right? You hear all those horror stories of bridezillas, so I was glad to not have had any of those moments! After all the planning, the day was here and we were married. It was a beautiful ceremony in our family friend's backyard - we couldn't have asked for anything more perfect! We danced the night away with our family and friends and in just a few short months, we'll be celebrating our second wedding anniversary. Time files when you're having fun!

Photo Credit: Beck Diefenbach

Oh and you're probably wondering where the 411 is on our honeymoon. Well, we did not go on one.....yet. I had a midterm exam two days after our wedding (that teacher was NOT nice when I asked him to take it early - ugh!), so we really couldn't go anywhere. There's nothing more romantic than spending the day after your wedding in the library studying. Party pooper over here. I even joked around with some of my classmates that I would wear my dress to that midterm. If you are wondering, I did not. I was thiiiiiiis close to wearing it, but I don't think I would have fit in the desk with all that dress. But, good things come to those who wait, right? Right! So, the hubby and I have decided it's finally time to take that well awaited honeymoon. More on that later, but it's coming and we can't wait to have some time to celebrate us and relax. We've been waiting a long time for this!

Let's see, what else has been going on? The hubby and I continue to plug away at updating our home and are currently working on our living room. Correction, Ryan is working on the living room. At least for now. He's re-texturing the ceiling and once he's done, we'll have the living room carpeted (the carpet before we moved in was so gross) and then we'll put a fresh coat of paint on the walls. We had to go back to the drawing board with the paint a couple of times, but I think we finally have a whole house paint that will look good on both the walls and the ceiling. We made the mistake of using another color of paint in one of the bedrooms and then doing a white ceiling. That was a fun task. We learned that wasn't the best way to go if we were going to be repainting the entire inside of the house ourselves. Nevertheless, things are moving along and we should be done sooner than later. But don't hold me to that. Doing a remodel yourself is hard work, but we've learned a lot about the house and ourselves through the process. Blood, sweat and tears will live on in this house, even after we are gone!

Who needs a contractor when you have a very handy hubby!

And one last item of mention - a new hobby. Not that I have a lot of time for anything else these days, but I decided to take on the task of refinishing old furniture. I never really thought much about it before, but admired those who did just that. Their work was just beautiful and I never thought I would ever even think of trying to do it. Let me just say, I am no expert and nor will I ever be, but, I was willing to give it a shot. Especially after my husband asked if I would like to try to refinish a couple of nightstands that were his grandparents. I was a little hesitant at first, seeing as they were part of the family, but he was certain his grandparents would be proud that we were freshening them up and using them in our home. So, it was time to set out on the task of figuring out how the heck I was even going to get started on such a project. After endless weeks of sanding, painting, priming and then painting again, I was done with the nightstand. It had gone from a funky avocado stained color to a clean and crisp white. Then, I felt I could do more and it was time for a dresser. I decided to do the body of the dresser a grey color and the drawers white (thank you Pinterest for the color inspiration). Despite the dresser being much larger than the nightstand, I was able to get the dresser done a lot faster. Not sure why that was, but I just went with it. After several coats of paint and new hardware, the dresser was finished. Since then, I've been working on the final nightstand and even took an Annie Sloan chalk paint class. Their paint and brushes are THE BEST, but I won't get started down that path. But I will just say that I did not use her paint or brushes on the first two pieces and it was a challenge. Brush hairs everywhere and bubbles in the other brand of chalk paint (to which the name will not be revealed). Don't get me wrong, the two pieces turned out great, but now that I've been introduced to Annie Sloan, there's no going back - and I have my eye on two other pieces and have been keeping my eyes out for others at garage sales or on the side of the road!

This was ELECTRIC blue before I got my hands on it

So, that's where I've been. Not to worry though. I've still been trying new recipes and cooking up a storm, as usual. I have a ton of recipes to share with you and will be back to blogging at least once a week. No more of this over a year away business. Here's to more recipes and more fun in the kitchen (and hopefully not driving my husband crazy with all my experiments!)!