Coconut Vanilla Pot de Creme #baketogether

I am joining Abby Dodge for another #baketogether this month featuring Vanilla Creme de Pots.  Since my youngest can't have dairy, I thought I would use coconut milk in place of the half and half.  The coconut flavor is so incredibly subtle as these pots are definitely vanilla.  I used both a vanilla pod and vanilla sugar when making these and I think it just ups the ante on the vanilla flavoring without being over powering.

Look at all those yummy vanilla specks of flavor.

I made the strawberry sauce since I had everything on hand and wow, that sauce is so good.  I added some to my greek yogurt this morning for breakfast and may add it to my strawberry cupcakes for a baby shower this weekend.  I'm kind of surprised my boys didn't see me scarf down my little pot of heaven after snapping pictures.  It was so good.  The next time I will try with the half and half for my husband and me since the recipe only makes 4 and that way, the two of us can have dessert after the boys go to bed. 

slightly adapted from Abby Dodge

Coconut Vanilla Creme de Pots with Double Strawberry Sauce
Makes 4 servings and 1 1/3 cup sauce.
For the pots of heaven:
1 vanilla bean split or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or paste
1 3/4 cup canned coconut milk (buy the full fat coconut milk, like Chaokoh)
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
1/8 teaspoon table salt
For the strawberry sauce:
1 package (10 ounces) frozen strawberries, thawed
1/4 cup strawberry jam (I use seedless)
1/4 – 1/2 cups (1 to 2 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of table salt
To make the pots:
1.Measure the coconut milk in a 2-cup glass measure.
2. Position the vanilla bean on a cutting board and, using the tip of a sharp knife, split the bean lengthwise down the middle. Slide the edge of the knife down the cut side of each piece of the bean to release the seeds. Add the seeds and vanilla bean pieces to the coconut milk. Heat the mixture in the microwave until very hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Cover and let the mixture steep 30 or up to 2 hours. The longer the coconut milk and the vanilla bean and seeds steep, the more pronounced the vanilla flavor.
3. Position the oven rack on the middle rung. Heat the oven to 325°F. Arrange four 6-ounce ramekins in a baking pan with 2-inch high sides. I use my 8-inch square baking pan.
4. In a small saucepan, whisk the yolks, sugar and salt until well blended.(Don’t let them sit or the eggs will begin to break down.)  Uncover the coconut milk and, whisking, slowly pour the coconut milk (with the vanilla bean pieces) into the yolk mixture. Whisk until well blended. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a spoon or heat-proof spatula, until thickened and coats the back of a spoon or spatula (170-172°F on an instant read or candy thermometer), about 4 to 5 minutes.
5. Slide the pan from the heat and fish out the vanilla bean and scrape any custard from the pod back into the custard. Stir in vanilla extract or paste, if using.  Pour the custard into the ramekins (for a super-clean pot filling, I like to pour the custard back into the 2-cup measure and then pour it from there into the ramekins – the pour spout makes it so easy.) Carefully fill the baking pan with hot tap water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins and cover the pan loosely with foil.
6. Bake until the pot de crèmes wiggle like jello when nudged, 35 to 45 minutes depending on thickness of the ramekin walls. Transfer the baking pan to a rack let cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 2 days before serving.
To make the strawberry sauce:
1. Combine the thawed strawberries, jam, 1/4 cup (1 ounce) confectioners’ sugar and the salt  in a food processor or blender. Whiz until pureed and well blended. Taste and add a touch more sugar if needed. Press through a fine-meshed sieve if you want a seedless sauce.
To serve:
1. Spoon a little of the custard out  of the center  -don’t go for perfect – and pour a little sauce into the cavity. Serve the remaining sauce on the side.


Neon Sunshine Necklace

I have been playing around with different materials in my jewelry making for awhile now and I have to say, it's been a lot of fun mixing paper and vinyl with my metals.  This necklace is white vinyl flowers from the Beadin Path and the paper flowers were from a jar of scrapbooking flowers I picked up at Michael's for a completely different craft project last summer.  

The chain is silver plated and 21 inches long. Since neon is still trending, you might find a few additions in my shop soon.

More pics can be found in my Etsy store.


Sausage Calzone - freezer meals

I'm part of a group of gals who get together about every 6 weeks and swap freezer meals.  Two of us have kiddos with dairy allergies and a few have nut allergies but we do pretty good to label those foods that contain the allergens so the little ones don't get sick.

 For one of the meal swaps, I chose to make sausage calzones for the group and I made a pepperoni and sausage calzone that was dairy free for the other family.  I had made these calzones ages ago and just recently decided to pull out the recipe and quadruple it.  I only needed 6 meals and ended up with 10 calzones.  Sister needs to work on her math skills a bit.

 I set up a little station of pizza dough, the sausage ricotta filling, mozzarella cheese, a flat baking sheet to roll out the dough and make the calzones and olive oil to spread out the dough.  I put the baking tin in front of me so I would make sure the calzone would fit in the tin.

I use this pizza dough recipe, mixed ricotta, cooked sausage, garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese in a large bowl.  After spreading out the dough to the desired size, on the bottom half of the pizza dough add a layer of ricotta mixture then top with mozzarella cheese.

 Fold over the top of the dough onto the bottom and fold and pinch the edges to seal them.  Using your hands or two spatulas, transfer calzone to the baking tin, add the top and write what it is, bake time at what temperature and once completed, add to the freezer.

I'm glad that I ended up with a few extra for my freezer because I have used them for a couple with a brand new baby, sent one to a neighbor who had broken her collar bone and another for a night when I seriously have no idea or motivation for dinner.

Sausage Calzones
makes 2 large calzones, serves 6-8

Pizza dough
olive oil
1 lb of Italian sausage
2 cups of ricotta cheese
1/2 of parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c of parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes  (optional)
fresh ground pepper
2 c mozzarella cheese
Favorite marinara sauce for dipping

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Brown sausage in a small skillet until cooked through and into small crumbles, drain on a paper towel lined plate.

In a large bowl, combine sausage, ricotta cheese, parm cheese, garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes if using and a few grinds of pepper.  On a lightly greased baking sheet, spread half of the pizza dough to cover the entire sheet.  On the lower half of the dough, spread half of the ricotta sausage mixture and then top with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.  Take the top half of the dough and bring it towards you to cover the filling. Start at one end and take the bottom dough and fold up to the top of the dough and pinch to close.  Go around the entire calzone to make sure all the filling is safely secured and won't ooze out when baking.  Transfer the calzone to another lightly greased baking sheet.  Take the second half of the dough and make another calzone using the same steps as above.  Transfer that calzone to the baking sheet with the first calzone and place in the oven.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  Warm up your favorite marinara sauce and serve on the side.  Cut each calzone into 6 slices and serve.

**You could also take the second calzone and wrap it in plastic and aluminum foil before baking and place it into the freezer for another day.  Take the frozen calzone out of the freezer, defrost in the fridge and then bake as directed.  You may need a few extra minutes if your calzone is still a little frozen in the middle.

adapted from Rachael Ray 30 minute meals 2


Love Me Some Coffee in a Pretty Mug #VDAYMUGSWAP

Happy Valentine's Day Y'all!!

I had the priviledge of joining Caroline and Alissa in the 2nd annual Valentine Swap and this year was as much fun as last year.  This years theme was a mug swap.  Each participate was paired with another blogger or instagrammer to swap Valentine goodies.  We were encouraged to send along a lovely mug and could also include whatever favorite drink and goodies.

My mug swap partner is the lovely Libbi from Life is Funner. She blogs about her life and does book reviews, so if you are ever in need of a book recommendation, hit up her blog :)  She sent me a box full of yummies and goodies and I have a funny story to share about the whole thing too.

Let's just say, my dog is lucky to still be alive.....

Our goal, set by Alissa and Caroline was to get our boxes sent out by Friday, Feb 1 in order for the USPS to do its job and that we would have enough time to blog, instagram and social media the entire event.  My box was delayed, but I did receive Libbi's box on the 1st and challenged myself not to open the box until mine was on its way to Colorado.  Sadly, the box was not on a very high shelf and was in my studio on my cutting table and the dog decided it smelled too yummy to not drag the box into his crate and rip it to shreds.

As you can see, all the very, yummy, homemade items were completely devoured by the dog.  To say I was sad is an understatement.  The dog was placed on permanent outside status for the remainder of the day until the husband came home to rescue him.

I managed to save the rest and put them up high and away in the kitchen where they actually belong.  Libbi sent me a beautiful green mug (love the dots!!), some yummy dark chocolate and sour patch candy, a package of Cookie Doodle coffee and a variety of teas.  There is also a beautifully packaged jar of Russian tea, which I have not had in a very long time.

So despite my sad state of the package and the loss of the homemade goodies, I'm thrilled with my mug swap.  Thank you Libbi!!

Linking up with Alissa & Caroline for the #VDAYMUGSWAP


Valentine Garland

I found this super cute garland idea from Pinterest (of course) and when I went to clink on the link, it's in Japanese and this girl speaks Zero Japanese, but......there were pictures and pictures speak in any language.  If I was a smart girl I would have taken pictures and done a DIY on how to make your own garland, but I did this project over the course of two weeks and I have mommy brain.

So I'll just give you the picture of my sad wall that needs updated pictures to include all 3 children and not just the oldest.  It was a fun project and honestly could be done within an hour start to finish.


A little weekend cuteness

I thought I would share some of the cuteness that lives in my house.
My husband's grandmother is turning 85 at the end of the month and my sister-in-law came up with a cool gift idea for her.  Great Gram Gwen has made all the great grandchildren an afghan and my SIL thought it would be a nice gift for her to have a picture with each great grand and their afghan.

Here are my 3 cuties with their blankets.  We chose not to find out the sex of our kiddos so the first two are gender neutral, but grandma didn't want to make a 3rd gender neutral blanket so little dude's came after he was born, thus his is blue.
age 7

age 5

age 2

I'm thankful for these handsome little trouble makers and the family we have that love them, bless them in various ways and most importantly pray for them.
I'm also thankful for living near grandma so I can use her nice patio and
 wooden chairs to snap these pictures :)


It Had Been a Week & It Was Only Monday

My very sweet husband brought home a bunch of tulips and take out last night for dinner.  I have spent the last week scrubbing, cleaning, vacuuming, combing out bugs of too many kinds.  Our house got hit by lice and the norovirus at. the. same. time. (shutter....)

I also missed out on a girl's night last Friday because I was so exhausted from the week that dinner and a glass of wine with my girlfriends couldn't entice me out of the house.  It probably didn't help that my husband had been in Chicago for part of the week and managed to snag the last seat on the early flight home.  Since I was missing out, one of my dear, best girlfriends texted my husband to stop by her house to pick up a little gift for me.

Yup, bestie for life for sure.