Friday, June 22, 2012

Homemade Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Yep, you read that right...homemade cookie dough ice cream!!  We recently acquired an ice cream maker and I swear it has changed our lives.  We will never again need to (or want to) buy that cardboard carton of frozen preservatives they sell at the supermarket!! We have a pretty decent vanilla recipe that we can add anything to, and since Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is Greg's favorite flavor, I thought I'd throw some together for him.

I remembered a while back finding an eggless recipe for "cookie dough" that was meant for truffles, but could be used in ice cream - so I did some Google-ing and found it!! The recipe is below!! It makes quite a bit, so if you use it for ice cream you'll have plenty left over to just eat...and that's the best part, you can eat the cookie dough without worrying about getting salmonella!!!

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened.
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

*In a large bowl beat butter and sugars with electric mixer until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
*Mix in milk and vanilla.
*Add flour and salt and mix on low until combined.
*Stir in chocolate chips.

Chill the dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes to get it firmer before adding it to ice cream...and eat what's left!! Store it in an airtight container and it will last up to a week in the fridge.

Note: I cut it up into little squares to add to the ice cream maker, and add it when the ice cream is almost done (mostly solid but still kinda soft).

You could also roll them into balls and cover with chocolate for cookie dough truffles!!

Or, you could just grab a spoon and indulge...go ahead, I won't judge you!!


This one is a winner all the way!! I will edit this post later and add a picture of our ice cream when I have a chance!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Moms View Makeover

I am officially the luckiest woman alive at this moment...this past Monday and Tuesday I got to spend all day hanging out with the makeover trio from the YouTube Channel The Moms View (click on the hyperlink to check out their channel, you won't be sorry!!)

I spent those two long but glorious days filming and shopping and learning to do my hair and makeup - all while getting to know those 3 amazing women. I have to say, I was seriously sad to have to leave Tuesday night because we had so much fun with CarlieStylez, HeyKayli and BellaMishella.  

We started out the first day at the old Makers Studios and had a crash course in filming for YouTube...It was just like filming for TV with the bright lights and cameras and even on of those slate things you clap really hard for each scene!! Everyone on the crew was amazing - we spent 2 long days with them and they never failed to make us laugh or help put our nerves at ease! Everyone at Makers Studios was so laid back but professional, it made the whole experience 20 million times better being around people who were real and genuine. So...the first day we started by filming the intro and all the "before" stuff...that included lots of pictures and standing still for videos of me before the makeover.

Then, after that was done we all went SHOPPING!! We went to the Westfield Shopping Center in Culver City and it was so much fun!! I am never one for shopping, but when you have someone as amazing as BellaMishella picking out your clothes it makes things a lot easier. We ended up getting my outfit from H&M - that's right, H and freakin' M!!! I NEVER thought I'd ever be able to shop in that store, but they had they cutest stuff and I LOVED the outfit and shoes we ended up getting there. She had the most amazing sense of style, and I was honestly in awe of the fact that she was able to find clothes (and modest clothes at that) that actually made me feel pretty...and I swear I looked like I had lost 15 pounds just with the new clothes! What a disservice I have been doing to myself by wearing over sized clothing, getting clothes with the right shape can make a world of difference!

Despite the fact that we spent hours in the stores (there was another mom shopping with us who was getting a makeover too) it was the most fun I've had shopping in a long time thanks to the crew. Those poor guys had to follow us around from rack to rack and just wait around while we tried outfit after outfit on. We laughed and just had a great time hanging around and getting what we needed.

After all the shopping we were able to finally get something to eat. We headed over to BJs and had a great time there finally relaxing and just talking and telling all kinds of stories. It was great to finally sit down and relax, but it was even more fun to just enjoy the company and hear more about Makers Studios and what goes on there.

After Day 1 going longer than expected, we figured we were in for another long day. Day 2 was supposed to be hair, makeup and the reveal...the most exciting part!! We left about 4 hours before our call time so we could take Greg's grandma home since she lives about 35 miles North of where we had to be. We got her dropped off and headed back towards the studio and I couldn't wait, I was so excited to see what was going to happen to my hair and the makeup and see the whole look together...then, as we got about 30 miles from the studio, we ran into a small problem. Greg tried to accelerate and the van just revved and the RPMs flew up into the red. We both looked at each other and simultaneously said "you've got to be kidding me." Yep, we had to let gravity take us off the freeway and into the ARCO parking lot...the transmission blew...for the THIRD time. The first time we were both pretty shaken up, the second time I was more irritated that it was 100 degrees outside and I had no AC while I waited for the tow truck with the kids sweating in the car.  This time, we both just laughed. At that point we knew the drill...we called the Auto Club to get that started and the transmission shop that has apparently decided to doom us to a lifetime of dead transmissions. The guy wasn't happy to hear that the wackos with the Odyssey minivan were calling again. We told him what was going on and that he'd be seeing the van in a few hours since they had to tow it all the way down there. We then got a rental car and continued our journey. We surprisingly made it to the new Makers Studios with 5 minutes to spare before our call time.  That's right, 5 minutes!!! That was no thanks to the little piece of junk rental car we had...a Nissan Cube (AKA the Dr. Seuss car according to the rental place). We pulled in and luckily they were just starting to eat lunch so we got some food and sat down to relax a little.  We then got started on what ended up being a super late, but completely rewarding day!

The other mom and her niece were still finishing up their stuff so we got to sit around for a while and just relax and talk, which was nice. Then they took Greg in to do his stuff and I was left wondering what I was in for when it was my turn. 

All of the details will be in the video when it's posted on YouTube in the next month, but I was a good kind of nervous. I have never dyed my hair, and anyone who knows me knows I have had no good experiences with makeup. I was nervous about whether or not I'd be able to handle the makeup when I went home, or if I'd feel like I didn't look like myself...or if Greg would even like it!

Well, the ladies did an AMAZING job. I love my new color in my hair...I loved the makeup and it was easy to do and totally something I could do at home. I loved the way HeyKayli did my hair and she was so sweet to stop and show me lots of different ways to make the most of my naturally curly hair. When all the hair and makeup was done I was allowed to put the whole look together - the weird thing was, there were no full length mirrors, so I had no way of seeing what the whole look was like...and we were in such a hurry to wrap the shoot that I didn't even think about just taking a picture and looking. I didn't see the whole thing until we stopped by our house later that night to grab a few things and I was amazed.  For the first time in my life I actually stood in front of the mirror and actually thought I looked, not good, AMAZING!!! The makeup was perfect, the hair was perfect and the clothes made me look so great. Not only did they take 15 pounds off, but they made me look like I cared about myself, that I had a confidence about me. 

Despite the long day we kept giggling until the end and I was almost in tears that we had to leave when our portion was done, but Greg had to be at work at 4:00 am and it was already 9:00 pm. I truly enjoyed my time there. Yes, I loved the clothes and the hair and makeup, but I will never forget how genuinely sweet they were to me and Greg. I had so much fun talking with them and I swear I didn't stop smiling all day. These really are women that I would want to be friends with in my everyday life. I feel like this "makeover" had two purposes in my life. The first was to give me a boost of confidence and to show me how I can make small changes to create a better "me," and two, I truly felt accepted by these women. That was huge considering the fact that I don't always fit in with the "in crowds." Up until a few years back I spent my life trying to get people to like me, and honestly it was tiring! I was constantly trying to be someone I wasn't and I got tired of it. Thankfully, Greg saw past that and loved the real me, the goofy me, the me that I finally feel comfortable with now and the me that everyone at the makeover show saw. It was so refreshing to get to just be myself and feel like that was enough.

This was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget!! I wish I could share pictures, but that would ruin the surprise of the whole thing! I will make sure and post a link when the episode gets uploaded and I can't wait to hear what everyone thinks. I will probably spend way too much time reading all the comments below the video, but I really do want to hear other people's won't change the fact that I loved it and felt amazing, but it's always interesting to hear what others say!

Please click on the links above for the Moms View channel and check out their videos, I watch them every time they are uploaded and I feel like I always learn something new when I watch them. Please also check out their individual channels, there are some great things going on there too. Lastly, check back here or watch my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter to see updates and find out when the episode airs!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I'm back!!!

Well, I have lots of recipes and fun things that I've been wanting to post, but apparently Google has decided to strong arm everyone into using Google Chrome. They made it virtually (and literally) impossible for me to post anything because I use Internet Explorer...and I refused to change just because they said so.

But, I love this blog and sharing my experiences more than my browser pride, so I sucked it up and downloaded Google Chrome - however, I will ONLY be using it for blogging....nothing else!!

So...I have lots of stuff to blog about!!! We made Maple Bars from Make Lemonade and More!, I made some Lofthouse Style Sugar Cookie Cars from Just Get Off Your Butt and Bake, and some Double Chocolate Banana Bread from The Sisters Cafe.  All three of the recipes were hits around here and I would recommend you giving them a try!!

First up we'll cover the Maple Bars from Make Lemonade and More!

Oh yes, that is one FINE looking donut!! The best part?? That puppy is BAKED, not fried!!

Since this post is going to have lots of stuff I'm just going to post links to the original blog posts and you can go there to get the recipes and see how it was originally done!!

Side note for these donuts - only frost them all if you are eating them that day, otherwise just frost what you plan to eat and store the frosting until you are going to use it. After a day, the frosting started to separate and slide off the bars...not a pretty sight!!

EASE OF PREPARATION: 4 out of 5 (I have limited dough rolling space so it was a nuisance)
OVERALL TASTE: 4 out of 5

Next is Double Chocolate Banana Bread from The Sisters Cafe

I apparently didn't take a picture of this, or the cookie bars below so you'll have to trust me that they turned out just like the pictures from their respective blog homes and give them a try!!

My only suggestion with this one is to WATCH THE BAKING TIME.  Our oven always takes longer than most to cook, and I had set mine for the minimum suggested time of 60 minutes and my bread was overcooked. I would check it after 50 minutes and see if a knife or toothpick comes out clean....let's face it, no one likes burned banana bread - and NO ONE wants to waste perfectly good chocolate bread!!

EASE OF PREPARATION: 5 out of 5 - it's quick bread, 'nuff said
OVERALL TASTE: 4 out of 5 - Maybe I wasn't in a banana bread mood when I tried it, but others would have given it a 5 out of 5!!

Last, but certainly not least are the Lofthouse Style Cookie Bars

These were DELICIOUS!!! So much better than I had thought they were going to be!! A perfect treat to take to friends and anyone else who might need a sugary boost!

On this one I have nothing to add, they were perfect in every way...but I swear that everything from Just Get Off Your Butt and Bake always is.  If you ever want a recipe that you KNOW will turn out amazing, get one from this website. I have yet to make one recipe from her that doesn't turn out as awesome as hers did!!

OVERALL TASTE: 5 out of 5 - these were super yummy, the kids even loved them!!

I'm sorry this post is short and sweet (really, really sweet) but I finally am able to post and wanted to do it while Nicole was napping and Freddie and Karyl were entertained by Dora...finding free time with 3 kids is proving to be more and more difficult!!

Give these recipes a try and then let me know in the comments how they turned out for you!!