Friday, August 22, 2014

fun links


we were folding some towels the other day and walked away for just a moment.  when we came back, we found leko "helping" out.  ryan was able to snap this picture of him.  i love how he is always right in the middle of whatever we are doing.  what a cutie!

wheph!  this week flew by so fast.  how is it friday already?  we have some fun plans for saturday, so we are super excited that it's the weekend!

here are a few fun links that i found around the internet recently:

an amazing a cappella newsies medley that was shot all in one take.

simple midnight snacks that won't undo your whole day

how to cut corn kernels off the cob.  perfect for summer corn recipes.

how to make the perfect crouton.

28 helpful travel tips for your next vacation (we already do a lot of these, but i never thought of #21 before)

frozen banana penguins!!!

have a great weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, August 21, 2014

sweet sixteen cake


last week, a family friend's daughter turned 16 and she hired us to make a birthday cake for her daughter's sweet sixteen birthday party!

the birthday girl requested a tiered vanilla cake with vanilla frosting, covered in teal fondant and white polka dots.  she also wanted a "16" cake topper with a soccer ball on it since she loves to play soccer.

so, we got to work and made a cake!  the bottom tier was a 3-layer 10 inch cake and the top tier was a 2-layer 6 inch cake.  all of the cake was vanilla, and there was vanilla buttercream frosting between each of the layers and on the outside of the cake.  we covered the cake in teal fondant which ryan tinted himself.  (he's so good at color mixing when it comes to cake decorating.  we call him our "color mixologist.")  we cut four different sizes of polka dots out of white fondant and adhered them to the cake with buttercream frosting.

we molded the cake topper entirely out of fondant so that it would be edible.  we used the same teal fondant that we covered the cake with and brushed it with edible luster dust for some extra pizzazz.  we used one of our white polka dots as the base for the soccer ball and cut the hexagons out of black fondant.  we stuck shish kabob skewers into the cake topper to support the numbers and to hold the cake topper on top of the cake.

it was absolutely massive by the time we put the whole thing together (and it was crazy heavy too)!  since we had to travel with the cake, we didn't stick the cake topper into the top of the cake until we arrived at the birthday girl's house.  we were really pleased with how the cake turned out, but more importantly the birthday girl loved it too!


love, laurie

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

snapshots of life lately, according to my iphone pictures

. . . and ryan's iphone too.


{some iphone pictures via the instagram app}

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

homemade peanut butter cup ice cream cake


we recently bought this ben and jerry's ice cream recipe book at a yard sale for 50 cents and it has a bunch of great ice cream recipes in it.

ryan was flipping through it the other day, and a chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream recipe caught his eye.  he decided that he wanted to make ice cream out of the ben and jerry's recipe book for his birthday, so we made a homemade ice cream cake for ryan's birthday party this weekend.


ice cream cakes are so easy to make, they just simply require a bit of time in order to freeze each layer.  we made this cake just like the homemade carvel ice cream cake that we made for ryan's birthday two years ago, except we did change a few things.

we used different recipes for the vanilla ice cream and chocolate ice cream, and we added mini chocolate peanut butter cups in each of the ice creams.  we kept the chocolate fudge and the cookie crumb layer in the middle of the cake exactly the same.


instead of covering the cake with whipped cream like we did last time, we covered it with chocolate whipped cream and decorated the cake with chocolate peanut butter cups.

the cake turned out great.  it was so decadent!  such a great treat for a birthday party!


homemade peanut butter cup ice cream cake
total prep time: 15-20 minutes
total freezing time: approximately 8-9 hours
yields: one 2 layer 9-inch round cake

french vanilla ice cream ingredients:
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 oz. mini chocolate peanut butter cups

chocolate ice cream ingredients:
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3 oz. mini chocolate peanut butter cups

directions:
to make the vanilla ice cream: whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy (about 1 to 2 minutes).  whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended (about 1 minute).  add in the cream, milk, and vanilla.  whisk to blend.  using a 2 quart ice cream maker, turn the machine on and pour the mixture into the freezer bowl.  (the freezer bowl must be already pre-frozen.)  let the mixture mix in the ice cream maker for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until thickened.  line a 9-inch round cake pan with plastic wrap.  transfer the ice cream to the pan, and evenly distribute the mini chocolate peanut butter cups in the mixture.  cover the top with plastic wrap.  freeze for about 2 hours, or until the ice cream is completely frozen.

to make the chocolate ice cream: melt the unsweetened chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot, not boiling, water.  gradually whisk in the milk and heat, stirring constantly, until smooth.  remove from the heat and let cool.  whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy (about 1 to 2 minutes).  whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended (about 1 minute).  add in the cocoa powder, cream, vanilla, and salt.  whisk to blend.  pour the chocolate mixture into the cream mixture and blend.  cover and refrigerate until cold (about 1 hour).  using a 2 quart ice cream maker, turn the machine on and pour the mixture into the freezer bowl.  (the freezer bowl must be already pre-frozen.)  let the mixture mix in the ice cream maker for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until thickened.  line a 9-inch round cake pan with plastic wrap.  transfer the ice cream to the pan, and evenly distribute the mini chocolate peanut butter cups in the mixture.  cover the top with plastic wrap.  freeze for about 2 hours, or until the ice cream is completely frozen.

to make the chocolate cookie crumb filling: place approximately 12 chocolate wafer cookies in a ziploc bag and crush the cookies with a rolling pin to make small crumbs.  in a bowl, combine the cookie crumbs and 2-3 tablespoons of chocolate magic shell (just enough to allow the cookie crumbs to stick together).  set the cookie crumb mixture aside until you are ready to assemble the ice cream cake.  do not refrigerate.

to make the chocolate whipped cream frosting:  in a large bowl combine 3 cups of heavy cream, 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar, and 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder.  whisk together with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form.  refrigerate the whipped cream until you are ready to assemble the ice cream cake

to assemble the ice cream cake: once frozen, place the chocolate ice cream layer on a cake stand. spread chocolate fudge evenly on top of the chocolate ice cream layer.  spread the cookie crumb mixture evenly on top of the fudge.  place the vanilla ice cream layer it on top of the cookie crumbs.  freeze the ice cream cake for about 1 hour.  once frozen, cover the cake with a thin layer of chocolate whipped cream.  freeze the ice cream cake for about 1 hour.  cover the cake in a second layer of whipped cream and decorate with chocolate peanut butter cups.  freeze the cake for at least 2 hours before serving.


enjoy!
love, laurie

Monday, August 18, 2014

ryan's 30th birthday party


this weekend was awesome.  it was such an all-around good solid weekend.  we started celebrating ryan's birthday on thursday, and continued the celebrations straight through the weekend.

on saturday, we got together with our families for a birthday party.  at the request of the birthday boy, we went biking on saturday after lunch.  we loaded up the bikes on the car and took my mom and ryan's dad biking on a local bike trail.  it was a lot of fun (and they even got to ride our tandem bike too).

after biking, we had a clam bake at our house for dinner.  (we had a clam bake for ryan's birthday two years ago, and he liked it so much that he wanted to do it again!)  we had clams, shrimp, kielbasi, potatoes, corn on the cob, coleslaw, homemade pickles, and ice tea.  it was so easy to make since everything just cooks in one giant pot.  it was a great summer party menu.

for dessert, ryan wanted a peanut butter cup ice cream cake.  so, we made a homemade ice cream cake . . a layer of homemade chocolate ice cream and a layer of homemade french vanilla ice cream with chocolate fudge and chocolate cookie crumbs in the middle.  there were mini chocolate peanut butter cups in the ice cream layers, and the whole cake was covered with frozen chocolate whipped cream.  we decorated the top of the cake with chocolate peanut butter cups.  it was delicious!

we had such a great time celebrating ryan's birthday with our families on saturday.  i can't believe he's 30!


hope everyone had a great weekend!
love, laurie

Friday, August 15, 2014

celebrating ryan's 30th birthday!


yesterday was ryan's birthday, i can hardly believe that he turned 30!

on wednesday night when ryan went to bed, i filled our dining room with 30 balloons.  each balloon had a message attached to it from a friend or family member wishing ryan a happy birthday.  when ryan woke up yesterday morning on his birthday, he came downstairs and found all of the balloons and the messages.  it was a really neat surprise.  as he drank his morning cup of coffee, he walked around the dining room and read each of the messages.  (thanks so much to all of our friends and family who helped me put together this great surprise for ryan!  he loved it!)


after work, we went out to dinner at a local italian restaurant.  we both agreed it was the best meal we have had in a while!  it was so good, and we were stuffed by the time we walked out of the restaurant.


after dinner, we came home and ryan opened his birthday presents.  leko gave him a new water bottle that ryan had been wanting for his bike, and of course leko was there to help ryan open his present and to play in the tissue paper and the box!


i surprised ryan with a blu-ray player since he always enjoys fun new gadgets.  we are looking forward to lots of movie nights at home with leko!


after ryan opened his presents, we had a movie night at home.  we ate some dessert and cuddled on the couch with leko as we watched the movie.  it was a great end to a great birthday!

we are looking forward to continuing the birthday celebrations all weekend long.  we will be celebrating with our families tomorrow too.

have a great weekend!
love, laurie