8.29.2014

Marionberry Pie Ice Cream Sandwiches with Tillamook and Farm Box SF

I'm so excited to be partnering with Tillamook again! As I'm sure you know by now, cheese is my favorite food group and I am a huge Tillamook fan. You might remember back in June, I attended a launch party for the Tillamook Pop-Up Shop here in San Francisco. Andrew and I had the best time! Everyone with Tillamook was so kind and knowledgeable about their products.

One of the best surprises of the evening was learning about Tillamook Ice Cream. I don't know if I had been living under a rock or what, but I had no idea they made ice cream. They had many flavors available to taste at the Pop-Up event, so of course, I sampled a handful. And you guys, it's amazing! So creamy and delicious. While I know many people love chocolate and caramel flavors for ice cream, I prefer fruit flavors and they had so many yummy choices. My favorite was the Oregon Blueberry Patch, it tastes like summer! The Marionberry Pie was a close second, it had pie filling and bits of crust in a creamy vanilla ice cream!

So naturally, when they reached out to me about teaming up for a "Fresh Picked Craving" post and creating a recipe using their ice cream and fresh summer berries, I jumped on board immediately! Tillamook partnered with Farm Box SF, and let me tell you it is a match made in Heaven. Both Tillamook and Farm Box are committed to supporting local farms for their products. The local, organic berries from Farm Box were the perfect compliment to Tillamook's ice cream.

For my "Fresh Picked Craving" recipe, I wanted to create a dessert that really reminded me of true summer. Something we don't always get to enjoy here in San Francisco. I grew up in the foothills and spent many summers picking berries with my Mom. What we didn't eat directly out of the bucket while picking, she would make into wonderful jams and fresh cobbler. I wanted to capture those summer flavors for this recipe.


When the delivery from Farm Box SF arrived last weekend, Andrew told me "these are the best looking blackberries I've ever seen." When I opened them up, I was immediately brought back to picking wild blackberries with my mom as a little girl. They were perfection! And the raspberries were perfectly red and ripe. Real berry flavor, not what you'd find at the grocery store. That's all it took for me to be a Farm Box SF convert, no more grocery store produce for me.  


Now it was time to think of a recipe to combine the fresh summer berries, and creamy Marionberry Pie ice cream from Tillamook. Talk about inspiring ingredients!!

I decided, what says 'summer' more than an Ice Cream Sandwich?! But I didn't want to make just any ice cream sandwich, this one had to be special! I wanted to incorporate both the ice cream, and the fresh berries. I thought, what better way to do that, then putting fresh berries directly into the cookie? Since I was using Marionberry Pie ice cream, I wanted to stick with the pie theme. I decided, sugar cookies with fresh berries would be a new spin on berry pie; the berries imitating filling, and the sugar cookie imitating the crust. 


For the cookies, carefully fold your berries into the dough. The juices may bleed a bit, but it just creates a beautiful marble affect in the finished cookies, so don't worry! I love how the berries burst and melt into the dough a little while baking, it's almost too pretty to eat!


Once you've made the cookies, let them cool for a few hours or over night. Next, it's time to assemble your ice cream sandwiches! I took the ice cream out of the freezer a few minutes ahead of time so it would soften a little. Then I simply took one scoop and placed it on the bottom side of a cookie. I used the back of a spoon so start shaping ice cream, making sure it went all the way to the edge of the cookie. Then I placed another cookie on top, and pressed the two together, using the spoon again to smooth the edges. I wrapped each sandwich individually in saran wrap, and placed them in the freezer to set up. 


I feel like I should have some childhood memory to share about waiting for an ice cream truck during summer break, but ice cream trucks aren't all that practical in rural foothill towns! So I missed that experience. I guess this is my way of making up for it! And I'm sure these ice cream sandwiches are ten times better than anything you'd find on an ice cream truck! 


I'm telling you guys, you seriously need to make these! They're so good! And just in time for Labor Day weekend Summer isn't over yet, and these would be the perfect dessert for an end of summer BBQ!

I know everyone is excited for Fall (it's my favorite season, too), but in a few months we'll all be missing the warmth of summer and sweet treats like these. So, be sure to soak up the last bit of summer, and make yourself an Ice Cream Sandwich to celebrate what a great season it's been.

Marionberry Pie Ice Cream Sandwich

Blackberry & Raspberry Sugar Cookies* - 
Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup butter
1 egg
3/4 cups fresh blackberries and raspberries (if the blackberries are large cut in half) 

Directions:
Heat oven to 375* and line cookie sheets with parchment paper, nonstick baking mat or cooking spray.

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg until well-combined. Stir in flour baking powder, salt and vanilla. 

In a separate bowl, toss the berries in 2 tablespoons flour, and discard excess. Then gently fold flour coated berries into the dough. 

Scoop large, 2 tablespoon portions of dough and roll into a ball. Place each ball on the baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes. 


** For a semi-homemade version of this recipe, use a packet of Sugar Cookie Mix. Instead of following package directions, add only 1/3 cup butter and 1 egg. Then mix as directed and gently fold in fresh berries. 

Ice Cream Sandwiches - 
Ingredients:
Blackberry & Raspberry Sugar Cookies
Tillamook Marionberry Pie Ice Cream

Directions:
Once the cookies have cooled, take one scoop of ice cream and place on the bottom of one cookie. Use a spoon to shape the ice cream, making sure it reaches the edge of the cookie. Then place another cookie on top, pressing the two together. Wrap each sandwich individually in saran wrap, and place in the freezer for at least an hour to set. 

A big thank you to Tillamook and Farm Box SF for asking me to participate in this challenge! I think it's been my favorite blog project to date, I had a lot of fun with it! I really enjoyed working with companies that care so much about supporting local farms. They care about providing the best possible product, using the freshest ingredients. Sadly, that is becoming a rarity in the food industry these days, so it's refreshing to see companies that are passionate about it, and make it a priority.

I hope you all enjoy this end of summer treat! Please let me know if you make them and what you think!

What's your favorite summertime dessert?

For more recipes from the Fresh Picked Craving challenge with Tillamook, look for #IceCreamCraving and #FarmToCone on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook


I'm link up over here today for "Weekend Potluck"! Stop by to find some great recipes just in time for Labor Day Weekend or a Back to School BBQ!

8.25.2014

My Favorite Pinterest Recipes: Dinner


As I was browsing my "eats" Pinterest board last night, searching for a dinner recipe, I realized how invaluable Pinterest has been to me in terms of finding and organizing recipes. Any time I'm meal planning, trying to decide what to make for dinner, or looking for recipe inspiration; I turn to Pinterest.
I used to love sitting down with my favorite cookbooks and magazines on weekends, earmarking recipes I wanted to try. But these days, I simply turn to Pinterest to find what I'm looking for. While I do still enjoy reading my Cooking Light, and referring to my favorite cookbooks for old favorites, for the most part I rely on Pinterest and other bloggers for recipes. I think this is largely due to the fact I want to see a picture of the dish before I commit to making it. Does anyone else feel this way? Or am I the only one that has set down the cookbooks and gone digital?

I thought it would be fun to do a post and share a few of my favorite recipes I've found on Pinterest, as well as the bloggers behind them. These are all recipes we continue to make time and time again at our house. I hope some of these are new to you as well, enjoy! 



My absolute favorite, Half Baked Harvest! I love all of her recipes, and I like to pretend we're friends in real life! Every recipe I've tried has been amazing. She is simply the cutest and I'm waiting for the day she announces a cookbook! Not only does she create delicious recipes, but her photographs are inspiring, and somehow she is able to share both wonderful stories and recipes simultaneously. I urge you to check out her blog if you don't already follow, and please make these tacos! They're incredible. It's become my go-to entertaining dish because it's unique and always a crowd-pleaser! I even did a little prep work before our trip to Yosemite last month so we could eat them one night while camping.



I recently stumbled across this pin while looking for a semi-healthy Mexican inspired dinner. We made a few slight modifications to the recipe, and it did not disappoint! First, we baked the chicken with fajita seasoning and lime, then shredded it to add to the casserole. We also used more chicken then the recipe called for, decreased the amount of enchilada sauce, and added jalapenos for extra spice! This is definitely something we'll continue to make during the week because it comes together quickly and easily. Plus, since there are only two of us, there are plenty of leftovers to take for lunch and/or dinner the follow day. We serve it with green salad for a simple, healthy weeknight dinner. 



We were making this dish for dinner so often during the week, we had to take a little break from it ;-) But it's back in the rotation because it's the easiest weeknight dinner, EVER. You simply toss everything in a baking dish,throw it in the oven, bake and enjoy! We modify the recipe a by using Brussels sprouts instead of green beans, and a lot less oil.  


So, How's It Taste? - Chicken with Honey-Beer Sauce

Another great resource for delicious, healthy recipes. We make this chicken with my cauliflower mash and another vegetable for a simple dinner that tastes like it requires a lot more effort than it actually does. Since Andrew isn't a huge mustard fan, we usually don't use the full 2 tablespoons, but otherwise we follow the recipe exactly. Typically we use IPA because that's what we have at the house, but I'm sure any beer would work. I love the way the shallots caramelize and the sauce thickens to create a glaze on the chicken, yummmm! 


Eat Yourself Skinny - Spicy Basil Chicken 

I'm sure you've all heard of Eat Yourself Skinny! Kelly is the cutest little Southern Belle with incredible, and healthy recipes! Lately, she's been busy planning her upcoming wedding, but there are plenty of old recipes on her site to keep your mouth watering! Plus a bunch of cute wedding DIY ideas on her Instagram! Hers is one of the first food blogs I started following years ago, and her recipes never disappoint! This basil chicken is so simple, and comes together in just a few minutes. It's the perfect dinner on busy weeknights. I can't get enough fresh basil during the summer months, so I try to make this as much as possible! It's so fresh and flavorful, you'll love it, promise! This is another one we paired with mashed cauliflower and veggies. But it would be great with brown rice as well! 



I haven't made this in a while, but putting this post together reminded me I need to! It's another simple recipe with great flavor! We have a lemon tree out back, so I think I'll be putting some of them to use soon. Gina's is another blog I've been following for years. She creates really flavorful dishes that are completely guilt free! And, she has a new cookbook that you can pre-order here! One thing I love about Gina's site is that she provides all the nutritional information, as well as Weight Watchers points. It's been so helpful to me when I'm watching what I eat and trying to lose a few pounds! If you haven't tried some of her recipes, you should! And I recommend starting with this one :) 

**********

Let me know if you guys try any of these recipes! I know you'll love them :) Plus, they're all really healthy and use real ingredients, which I try to be mindful of. I guess that means I'm getting old...

Follow me on Pinterest for many more delicious meal ideas! And here are a few of my recipes that I've shared on the blog.  

8.22.2014

1960's Style Revisited

Earlier this summer, I spent an embarrassing amount of time online shopping for a Bridesmaid dress. It was quite overwhelming considering how many dresses are out there, I think I ordered 5 before I found the right one!

During my search, I stumbled across a few dresses that immediately brought a smile to my face. Not because they were something that would work for a bridesmaid dress, but because they reminded me of a dress I had loved as a little girl.

When I was little, I spent a lot of time at my Grandma's house. They had this huge basement my cousins and I used to play in. We'd play dress up and put on plays for the adults. My grandparents pretty much let us run wild down there, which as a kid, was awesome! There was a box of clothes for the girls to play dress up with, and in the box were some of my Mom's old dresses from High School Dances. One, was yellow dress with a lace overlay and ribbon sash. Which, if you know my Mom, you'd know she made it herself.

So as you can imagine, while I was browsing online for dresses and came across the three styles below, it brought a huge smile to my face. I immediately emailed the links to my Mom, which she got a kick out of. I vividly remember playing in my Mom's dress, and seeing these modern versions of it brought back so many great memories of playing with my cousins at our Grandparents.

It's so fun to see how styles and trends repeat themselves. I've always said I am an old soul, and I love the classic silhouette of these dresses and the modern spin on 1960's fashion. While I may not be sporting overalls and crop tops, I can definitely get on board with classic pieces like this that are coming back into style.

Yellow Lace Dress


And of course I can't post about my Mom's beautiful dress without sharing a picture. This was my parents Junior Prom in 1968! They got married a few years later in 1972, aren't they so cute!?


What are some trends you're excited to see coming back into style? 

Do you think I look more like my Mom, or my Dad?

I hope you all have a great weekend! 

8.21.2014

Snapshots from Palm Springs

I can't believe Palm Springs has already come and gone! We had been planning and looking forward to the weekend for months, and it absolutely held up to our expectations, exceeded them actually! We all had the best time, and most importantly, the bride said it was the most amazing Bachelorette Party she could have imagined. Exactly what we had hoped for!

We took SO many pictures, and the Photo Stream from the weekend continues to entertain us 2 weeks later. I didn't want you all to feel left out, so I thought I'd share a handful of my favorite pictures from the weekend. Well, at least my favorite of the shareable photos. 

As you might have guessed, one of the highlights was Saturday when we had an 80's theme. The one piece suits everyone brought were nothing short of amazing! The goody bags also included a few fun accessories like inflatable microphones, neon Madonna gloves, scrunchies, and wayfarers to set us over the top! Naturally, the majority of our pictures were taken Saturday, because how can you resist snapping pics of those bright neons!?

I hope you all enjoy this peak into the BEST Bachelorette Party ever!  




How do you feel about theme days? I know some people aren't into it, but I think it's so fun!! 

What are some of the best Bachelorette Parties you've attended? I'd love to hear about them!


8.19.2014

A Gift For The Bride to Bea


As you know, one of my best friends in getting married in a few weeks. I wanted to do something extra special for her to celebrate this important time in her life. Gift giving is always something I've prided myself on. I love thinking of unique ideas that are especially meaningful for the recipient. And of course, this was no exception. 

In the past, I've made a sort of "brag book" for friends getting married. Which is basically a completed scrapbook filled with everything except pictures. There are pages for each event from the engagement, leading up to the wedding and honeymoon. All the bride has to do is add pictures as the events happen. However, I knew I wanted something more personalized and special for Erica. And I wanted it to be complete when I gave it to her.

I decided what better way to celebrate the bride, than to compile a book of memories from her closest friends. And what better time to present the gift than at her Bachelorette Party when almost everyone was together. 

Now, this gift isn't for the faint of heart! It takes a lot of prep time, and then of course time to assemble the final product. But the completed book, and the look on the brides face when she opens it, will be completely worth it! So, I'll walk you through the steps I took in case you'd like to create something similar for a bride in your life!

First, I used the email list for the Bachelorette Party, and added a few family/friends I knew were close to Erica. Then I sent out an email, explaining the gift and requesting that everyone please share a few pictures and a message to the bride. The message could be anything from a quote, to marriage advice, to memories shared with the bride if they wanted to be included in the book. I knew that it would take some time to get this back from everyone, so I sent the request a few months in advance. I sent periodic updates to those who I hadn't heard from, and kept a list of those who had replied. 

Many of the girls had trouble finding pictures, but thankfully our friend who had organized the Bridal Shower had a ton that she shared with me. I'm also a picture hoarder, so between that and what I could find on Facebook and Instagram, I gathered enough pictures for everyone. 

I organized the messages the girls sent in a word document, and sized them and used different fonts so each page was unique. I also organized all the photos and had them printed in a variety of sizes. I used to scrapbook a lot, so I have a lot of supplies laying around. And luckily, I even had a scrapbook, pages and page protectors to use for this project. But you can get everything you need at a craft store like JoAnns or Michaels. I did make a quick trip to the craft store for cute paper and stickers to embellish each page. 

Once I had all the pictures and messages printed, I cropped them down and used a corner cutter to round the edges. Since I mostly wanted the focus to be on the photos and messages, I selected a simple paper for the background, and arranged the photos and messages on top. Then I just added a sticker or two, and the name of the person that page was from. Each girl had their own page, and then I did a 2 page spread for the bridesmaids. Mostly because I am indecisive and have so many photos of the five of us, I couldn't fit everything on one page. 

I decided I wanted to start the book with something special, not just jump into the pages from friends. So the first page highlights their engagement. You can read more about their engagement on Erica's blog, but Corrie proposed in Utah while they were snowboarding on Christmas, and the ski resort photographer captured the whole thing! I also included a page of their engagement photos, which were taken by the lovely Stephanie at AT&T Park! Perfect for these two Giants fans! After the Engagement photos, I jumped right into the pages from all the Bride's friends and sisters. 

Missing a caption  on the right because she's a new mamma :) so I left a space to add it in later! 

I hope it's something that Erica's treasures forever! It was so fun looking over all the photos, and reminiscing. Most of us have been friends with Erica since high school or even elementary school, so you can only imagine some of the old pictures and memories! Hopefully this book reminds her of how many people love her, and how excited we all are for this new chapter in her life! It's proof of all the support she and Corrie have as they start their lives together!

One of the best parts was watching Erica open this after breakfast one morning in Palm Springs. No one had seen the completed book yet so all the girls were eager to see "their page" and laugh over the old pictures and memories we've all shared with Erica. It's the gift that keeps on giving!

If you have any questions about how I made it let me know! It's pretty straight forward, but I wanted to share the idea since I can't think of a Bride who wouldn't love receiving a gift like this!


8.18.2014

Easy Vegetarian Breakfast Quiche Muffins



I've been trying to be more diligent with my diet lately, especially during the week since we've been on the go during the weekend. And I was looking for an easy workday breakfast option, that was low carb and filling. I had remembered making quiche muffins when I did the South Beach Diet a few years back. 

The original recipe I used from The South Beach Book was quite simple, but I knew I wanted to cram as many vegetables as I could into this breakfast so I modified it for my own taste. 

These are super easy to throw together and can easily be modified to incorporate what you have on hand, or for specific dietary needs. I try to make a batch on Sunday, then bring them to work so I have breakfast ready to go throughout the week. Last time, my co-worker discovered them in the fridge and helped himself, now he keeps asking me to make more! I guess it's a fair trade for the tomatoes he brings me :) 




Easy Vegetarian Breakfast Quiche Muffins

Ingredients:
12 Eggs or 3 cups Egg Beaters
4 Morning Star Breakfast Sausage Patty's (vegetarian, sub regular sausage or bacon if you prefer) 
1/2 cup cotija cheese
1/3 chopped green onion
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
4-5 cups chopped fresh spinach (you can substitute 10oz frozen if you prefer, drain thoroughly)
2 teaspoons hot sauce
salt & pepper
cooking spray

Directions: 
Preheat the Oven to 375*

Defrost Morning Star Sausages, set aside. Next, chop green onion, mushrooms, bell pepper and spinach, sausage and crumble cotija cheese. Beat eggs, add salt, pepper & hot sauce. Next, stir in all chopped vegetables, sausage and cheese. 

Generously coat a muffin tin with cooking spray and fill with egg mixture. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. I also like to rotate the pan halfway through baking. 

Makes 12 servings. Re-heat in microwave for about 25 seconds and enjoy! 

*I store these in the fridge and eat them throughout the week, but they can also be frozen and reheated.  

Let me know if you try these! What is your favorite breakfast during the work week? I hope you all had a great weekend.

Linking up with Meg for Mingle Monday here :) Pop over to meet some new friends!
Oh, and to answer the linkup question, Fall is by far my favorite season! I can't wait :) 

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