Summertime Treat: Make your own ice cream!

A few weeks ago, I got my Weeknight Kitchen newsletter (a fan of NPR's The Splendid Table? Then you should consider subscribing to their newsletter here. It's great!), and at the very bottom was a recipe for Lynne's Stirred Fresh Lime Ice Cream (very similar to this recipe here). Having just moved to NC and being faced with 100+ temperatures that week, I promptly headed to the store and bought all that was needed (except I used lemons rather than limes). The original recipe was incredibly delicious - and rich. Too rich for my taste, actually (though my husband claimed it was the best ice cream he's ever tried). Since then, I've been testing out different variations of cream/milk/flavor combos to find the one that is just right for us.

This past week, I think we found it. I made stirred coconut ice cream that has been a huge hit with everyone, by simply modifying Lynne's recipe (linked above).

Here's my variation:
Stirred Coconut Ice Cream
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla (I didn't actually measure, but it looked to be about that much)
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups light cream

Place coconut, sugar, and vanilla in a freezer-safe dish (I like a long, shallow casserole dish). Add the light cream a little bit at a time, whisking as you add. Continue to whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add heavy cream and whisk some more, to combine. Place in freezer for an hour. Stir to break up ice crystals, and return to freezer. An hour later, stir again. Return to freezer. Wait one more hour, stir again. Return to freezer, and let freeze a bit longer. It's now ready for you to enjoy!

If you make it, I'd love to hear what you thought.

As a side note, this is an extremely kid-friendly recipe, and a great chance to get your little ones in the kitchen to help. We had a lot of ingredient sampling, but as this recipe does not include anything raw or potentially dangerous, it was all great fun for us both. Our little guy has now helped me make three different flavors of ice cream, resulting in lots of giggles and fun (and a big mess, too... but nothing that can't be quickly cleaned up).

Next up on my list to try out: peach ice cream!


Exploring & re-connecting

One of the best things about moving to a new place is exploring and discovering new family favorites. This past weekend, we piled in the car and headed to the coast to visit family. They live just a short drive away from the beach, and we spent the bulk of our visit there. Saturday was cloudy and rainy, and we had to wait it out in our cars a couple of times. But eventually, the sun came out.

And so, we spent a lot of time digging in the sand and building castles (and boats and houses and parks and...).

And we spent a lot of time getting re-acquainted with the Atlantic Ocean. I had forgotten how warm it is, and I so loved watching M discovering this for himself.

While spending time in the beach was lots of fun for everyone, the best part was, without a doubt, re-connecting with family. Having lived in Seattle for so long, we rarely got to see them, unless we were all going to a family reunion or other celebration. Getting to spend time together, and being welcome by them into their home for the weekend really has helped to get us energized and excited about having made this move. I am so grateful to have them nearby and to see M making those family connections we so craved for when we lived out West.

Thank goodness for beach weekends and for re-connecting with family. And now, time to get back to unpacking and getting settled.


Wishful thinking...

We are starting to establish our everyday routines around here, slowly but surely. It doesn't matter that we've still got a whole room full of boxes that need to be unpacked and sorted... that can be tackled later. I've come down with a nasty cold (it feels insane being sick when it's so hot outside), and as I lay on the couch last night feeling sorry for myself, I started looking back on pictures of our vacation to Cannon Beach, OR, the week before we moved. It was magical. And I so wish we were still there.

It was sunny and beautiful nearly every day of the 7 days we were there. The scenery was breathtaking.

We spent the week with our dear friends, and M had a blast playing with the kids. It was like a dream come true for him, having the kids around 24/7. They mostly got along well and there were few outbursts and meltdowns, for which I am so thankful.

This place is so stunningly beautiful... I was so happy we got to spend the whole week with them in such a gorgeous place.

We walked to the tide pools one morning, and it was amazing to see so many starfish, sea urchins, barnacles, and sea birds (kind of) up close (puffins!). The best part of it all was watching the kids so happy and curious while exploring nature.

Despite all the sun, it was far from balmy during our visit, and we had to layer before heading out to play on the beach. The amount of laundry we had to do was incredible, but it was totally worth it. Who needs toys, when there's water, sand, buckets, and rocks to build with (and willing Dads who get a greater kick out of building a sand castle than the toddlers do)?

Greatest vacation ever. So grateful we got the opportunity to go, and so grateful our sweet friends were able to come with us. Wish we were there.


New town, new house, new routines

I had grand intentions of posting as we transitioned from our life in Seattle to our new life in NC. Obviously, that didn't happen. I had largely underestimated how busy we would be, how overwhelming the whole process would feel, and just how sad we'd be leaving Seattle. For nearly 9 years, we lived, worked, laughed, and loved in Seattle. That's where we each attended and finished grad school, worked, met some of the most amazing people we've ever met, got engaged, planned a long-distance wedding, and started our family. All along the way, we have had incredibly kind, generous, loving friends helping us and cheering us on -- and it's them who will miss the most.

But time moves forward (and, if you have a child, you know how quickly it does so!), and we are now in our new stomping grounds, finding our way around and trying our best to get settled in. I want so badly to like it here, because I want our little family to thrive and be as happy as we were in Seattle. Things are so different here from what we're used to, especially this summer heat. I think once temps cool down a bit it'll be easier to explore and get to know (and hopefully love) the area.

And even though so much has changed, it's so comforting to see that some things stay the same:

Thank goodness for little boys, which make life oh-so-messy, but also incredibly sweet.