Homemade Ice Cream: Black Coffee Chocolate Chip

Homemade coffee chocolate chip ice cream

Ice cream, especially homemade ice cream, is one of my biggest weaknesses. I love the feel of cold sweet cream on my tongue. It is one indulgence I have a hard time giving up.  I could be a happy camper if it were the only thing available to eat, although I might be a bit plumper. It is likely the worst thing for you, loaded with sugar and dairy, but I simply cannot resist it. Lately, I have become fascinated with homemade ice cream.  This weekend I found a recipe I had to try; black coffee ice cream.

I love coffee and ice cream so why not make a batch up. I tweaked the recipe by adding mini chocolate chips for a little extra something too.

As I was whipping it up, my husband asked what I was making and then said that does not sound good at all, joking of course. I think it will make a delicious treat tomorrow night after a day of grilling out.

Ingredients:

2 cups of half & half

6 tbsp instant espresso

2 tbsp Hershey’s Baking Cocoa

½ cup cane sugar

½ tsp pure vanilla extract

 

Directions:

Place 1 cup half & half in a pan along with the espresso, cocoa, sugar and vanilla. Heat over low heat and whisk until everything has dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining cup of half & half. Let mixture cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or longer if need be. Using an ice cream maker, churn according to the directions. While it’s churning, pour in ½ cup of mini chocolate chips. Place in freezer safe bowel, and freeze until mixture is no longer soft.

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Flourless Chocolate Cake

flourless chocolate cake

We first tried going gluten free a few years back, and then last summer we made an earnest attempt to stick to it. I’ll admit it didn’t last. We like our bread a bit too much. I also love to bake and it’s a bit difficult to make baked goods with out flour. Some all-purpose gluten free mixes are decent, but you can’t count on cake or cookies to turn out well.

I discovered this flourless chocolate cake recipe a while ago. I was skeptical at first and decided to try it anyway.  Oh my goodness!  It turned out so dense and chocolaty.  Forget the fork, it was dense enough to eat in your hand like a cookie.

I have served this decadent dessert at dinner parties and have sent it into work with Kevin for office holiday parties. It’s always a hit.  I would suggest baking two of them, just so everyone gets a piece. The first time I made this it went so fast, Kevin didn’t get a piece. I had to make a second one the next day just for him.

Since Mother’s Day is this weekend, I think this would be a fabulous sweet treat to add to a brunch.

To make this Flourless Chocolate Cake you will need:

 

4 oz bittersweet chocolate

1 stick unsalted butter

¾ cup sugar

3 large eggs

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions:

  • Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees and butter an 8-inch round baking pan.
  • Line the bottom with parchment paper, and butter the paper.
  • Cut up the chocolate into small pieces. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler over simmering water, stir until smooth.
  • Remove the top of double boiler from the heat, and whisk in the sugar.
  •  Add the eggs and whisk well.
  • Gently sift in the cocoa powder and whisk to combine.
  • Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until a thin crust is formed on the top.
  • Cool the cake for five minutes on a rack before inverting onto a serving plate.
  • Dust the top with confectioner’s sugar using a small strainer or a sugar shaker before serving.

 

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What Makes a House a Home

what makes a house a home

What makes a house a home? I have pondering that question lately.  Is it the smell of apple pie,  the cozy fireplace, the welcoming entry, or a comfy couch?  Maybe it’s the collection of art, or the books and photos we surround ourselves with. There are many ways to define it.

If you think about it a house is just the frame work. It’s wood, concrete, nails, glass, drywall and a floor-plan. It doesn’t quite become a home until the inside is lovingly decorated by its inhabitants.

Bright-living-room

Everyone has their own style and own thoughts of what creature comforts need to be in their homes. Some want that professionally decorated home, while others enjoy the task of doing it themselves.  Does it really matter which approach is taken? Of course decorators will argue,  perhaps rightfully so, that people lacking any sense of style really ought not to try to do it themselves.  But style is such a personal thing, if one loves their space does it really lack style?

decorated mantel

I do agree that trained designers and decorators will do a much better job of capturing ones style while assembling rooms with the right principles in mind, than an untrained homeowner would. At the same time I don’t think a home must be defined by the talents of a designer, but I would recommend it.

 

Home simply is where the heart is.  It is filled with things we love, things that make us smile or inspire us. It is a reflection of how we live, of our personalities and interests.  Home is a whatever we want it be…..for me, home is where my husband is.

What makes a house a home for you?

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Gratitude

gratitude

Gratitude is one of those things that takes so little time, but offers huge rewards.  All it takes is a few minutes each day to reflect on the small things in your life you are thankful for.

I’ve practiced gratitude on and off for a few years now, and I’ve learned the more consistent you are the better.  I’ve noticed that I am happier, and good things happen when I am grateful for the little things.  I also roll more easily with the lumps and bumps life can send at you.  When I am lax in my gratitude, my disposition is a bit more ornery,  I am less at ease with disappointments and much more prone to stress.

My experiences aren’t a fluke. Studies have found that being thankful what we have in our lives gives impacts our health in positive ways, letting us weather the storms we face better. Robert Emmons, the father of “positive psychology”, has spent years looking at how gratitude affects our health and well-being.  He found six commonalities between that people who practice gratitude on a regular.

Benefits of Gratitude

Emmons defines gratitude as ones attitude toward themselves and the outside world. Those that practice it are more likely to have a positive attitude and relate more positively to the world around them while recognizing the positives in their own lives. It gives them the ability to weather life’s challenges with a smile rather than a frown. Gratitude forces our attention outside of our own sphere.

Gratitude gives us the opportunity to appreciate what we have in our lives. It’s not always about the material possessions, but how we feel about the material possessions. One study found that billionaires in Japan and the impoverished in India both saw their lives as miserable, illustrating that it’s not what you have but your attitude to what you have that matters.  Finding gratitude in the everyday of our lives let’s us be at peace and find joy.

One of the best ways to practice gratitude is to keep a journal. I spend ten minutes every morning with a cup of coffee, my  journal and my favorite pen.  I try to jot down at least ten things that I am grateful for each day.  Finding ten can be a challenge, so I’ll let myself get bay with five, if I am really pressed.

gratitude

Another trick I’ve used that is really fun, is to write one thing down each night on a pretty piece of scrap paper with the days’ date and toss it into a large glass jar. What you write down can be something you are grateful for or it can be one amazing thing that happened to you that day.  At the end of the year, you can go through the bits and pieces and  reflect on how awesome you year has been.

I challenge you to start adopting an attitude of gratitude. It is humbling, and well worth the effort.

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Irish Cream Cheesecake

Irish Cream Cheesecake recipe

Cheesecake is probably our favorite dessert.  We opted for a Key Lime Cheesecake when we got married instead of the traditional dry wedding cake that is often served. There’s just something about the creamy sweet feel of cheesecake.

I have made it several times, but it takes some time and patience. I am not always patient.  It may be because cheesecake can be difficult. It’s not impossible, it just takes a gentle touch and a lot of prayers.  I think the hardest part is baking it so it doesn’t crack.  Cracks just ruin the visual.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I thought I would share my recipes for Irish Cream Cheesecake. It’s a delicious treat and one I haven’t made in a long while.

Irish Cream Cheesecake

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 1hour and 20 minutes

Ready in:  1 1/2 hours and 20 minutes

You need 1 9 inch spring form pan for this recipe.

Ingredients: 

1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs

1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup butter (melted)

3 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese softened

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

3 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)

For the crust:  In a large bowl mix the cookie crumbs, confectioner’s sugar and 1/3 cup cocoa. Add the melted butter and stir til well mixed. Pat into the bottom of the spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes then set aside.

Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees ( 230 degrees C)

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, white sugar, flour and 1/4 cup cocoa. Beat at a medium speed until well blended and smooth. One at a time add the eggs, mixing well after each one, but not over worked. On a low speed blend in the sour cream and Irish cream liqueur. Poor over the baked crust.

Place the spring form pan in a large roasting pan, then pour water into the pan to half way up the spring form pan. This will help keep the cheesecake from cracking.

Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temp to 250 and bake for another 60 minutes.

When you remove it, loosen the cake from the rim of the pan with a knife. Let it cool and remove the rim.  Chill before serving. If it cracks on you, you can take a damp spatula and smooth the crack then dust with chocolate cookie crumbs.

You can serve this with some fresh whipped cream or a drizzle of chocolate sauce.  It is really good!

Serve this up with a cup of Irish Coffee.

Sláinte

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