Archive | November, 2009

How to Make Gingersnap Ice Cream

29 Nov

For Thanksgiving, I made a lovely batch of gingersnap ice cream. I followed one of David Lebovitz’s recipes. He is definitely my go to person for ice cream recipes! Last year, I always used his vanilla base when I thought up my own concoctions. I strongly recommend anyone to buy his book ‘The Perfect Scoop‘. It’s amazing!

Step 1:

Boil 3 oz of ginger for 3-5 minutes.

Step 2:

Slice ginger into thin strips. You’re actually supposed to do this before you boil it, but I messed up!

Step 3:

Combine 1 cup of whole milk and 1 cup of heavy cream in a saucepan. Add 3/4 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt and stir together. Place the sliced pieces of ginger in the mixture and let steep for one hour.

Step 4:

While the milk mixture is steeping, start preparing the gingersnap cookie dough for the ice cream. Beat together 2 Tbs unsalted butter with 3 Tbs of packed brown sugar. Once that’s smooth, mix in 1 Tbs molasses and one egg yolk. Now add 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, and 1 tsp ground allspice. Form the dough into one large disk, about 5″ in diameter. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes and let cool.

Step 5:

Add one more cup of whole milk to the milk and cream mixture. In a separate bowl, beat 5 egg yolks. To temper the yolks and prevent cooking the eggs, slowly pour in the milk mixture (but remove the ginger first!) and whisk continually. Once the egg yolks are mixed with the milk, pour the entire thing back into the saucepan.

Step 6:

On medium heat, stir the custard continually with a heat-proof spatula. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to prevent cooking. When the liquid coats the back of the spatula, it’s done! Pour into a bowl and chill for a few hours or overnight, which is even better. I also added cinnamon for some extra flavor!

Step 7:

Pour the chilled mixture in the ice cream machine. To get mine to the desired consistency took about 40 minutes. I like to let as much air get in as I can for a very voluminous ice cream!

Step 8:

Crumble up the gingersnap cookie and spread evenly throughout the ice cream. I like to layer the ice cream and cookies and give it a little stir at the end.

Step 9:

Place back in the freezer for a few hours now.

Well, there you have it. Homemade Gingersnap ice cream! I hope you all enjoyed it. I had fun doing it 🙂


The Day After

27 Nov

I hope everyone had a great day spending time with family and eating delicious foods yesterday. I had a wonderful meal here with my relatives and a good night spending time with them. I miss my family more than anything, but it’s only about 3 more weeks til I finally see them!

I made most of the dishes yesterday, and had fun doing it. Cooking is awesome 🙂 Without further ado, here’s what we had.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette a la Barefoot Contessa. This was amazing. But when is roasted squash not good? And when has Ina Garten ever steered us in the wrong direction? That’s right, never!

Cider-Glazed Sweet Potatoes. Oh man, I ate so much of these! It was probably one of my favorite things on the table. The recipe can be found here. I loved the mixture of apple cider, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, olive oil, and salt. Delicious! I would definitely recommend it.

My aunt’s mashed potatoes in the front (obviously). And a really simple cranberry sauce. Just water, sugar, fresh cranberries, some cinnamon, and a little orange and that’s it! I made it, and I’ve actually never been a fan of cranberry sauce before but I liked it this year! I don’t think I gave it that much of a chance before.

This is my grandma’s version of stuffing. It has rice, chorizo, herbs, and spices.

The turkey. It was seasoned with garlic, rosemary, and probably some other stuff. My uncle Shawn did the work, and I basted it all day. It turned out very moist and flavorful. Surprising, because I normally don’t like the Thanksgiving turkey!

Everything all together. Also, on the right side, I made some gravy. It was soo good! My mom’s recipe. She told me how to make it over the phone. I made homemade turkey stock, and used that with flour, butter, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper to make the delicious gravy.

My lovely dinner company.

My food. It’s more than it looks like I swear! And I totally had more sweet potatoes and salad 🙂

After digesting and cleaning up a bit, it was time for dessert! The best part of course. The night before (Thanksgiving Eve ;)) I made homemade ice cream and pumpkin pie. They both turned out to be SO delicious.

Pumpkin pie made with this recipe. That gingersnap crust was amazing! I love a cookie crust so much more than pastry any day.

Homemade Gingersnap Ice Cream. Soooo good!! I steeped a mixture of milk, cream, and sugar with fresh ginger for an hour so it was actual ginger flavored ice cream. I also made a batch of gingersnap speculoos, which is a kind of cookie. In the morning, after I churned the ice cream I crumbled the cookie inside. Incredible.

I miss making ice cream so much. I basically spent all of last year doing that. Grace and I already have big plans for some flavas when I get home 🙂

Max loved it too!

I went on a long shopping trip with my aunt today. We went to this huge outlet mall and scored some sweet deals. I got two sweaters, a pair of gloves, and a long-sleeved shirt for $100 at J. Crew. Pretty good deal I’d say! I just ate some leftovers and now I’m going to watch Elf with everyone. Ice cream will probably be in my future 🙂

I took this picture when I was making the cookies. Love my new camera 🙂 I took pictures step by step as I did the pie and ice cream, sooo if anyone’s interested I can make that into a post!

I’m thankful for my family and everything they do for me! I really can’t go a day without talking to one of them. We have so much fun together and it’s not the same living apart. Of course, there are fights, but in the end we are a really close family. I can’t wait to spend Christmas with them.  22 days until I’m home guys!!!


25 Nov

Awesome. Just lost about an hour’s worth of work because Firefox crashed. THANK YOU.

I had such a good post going too 😦

Guess I better just start over…

I’m so glad this week was a short week. Only 2 days of school and I’m done 🙂

I’ve been having fun playing with my Rebel. The battery was charging last night, and so the first few pictures from school and earlier are with my old camera.

Here we go (again)!

Breakfasts have been focused on yogurt lately. I got a big container of Fage at the co-op last week and have just been lovin’ on it.

Baked Apple Yogurtone “baked” Gala apple topped with cinnamon, on top of Fage, Nature’s Path Pumpkin Flax granola, and a dollop of crunchy peanut butter. And more cinnamon of course!

Definitely tastes better all mixed up.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Yogurt. Fage, granola, cinnamon, homemade raspberry jam (my mom brought this for me!!!), peanut butter, and candied almonds. Amazzzing. I actually had planned on having toast, but my loaf had some suspicious white spots 😦 I’m so bummed because the loaf was kind of pricey and it was really tasty! I just didn’t eat it fast enough I guess. It’s hard when I’m the only one using it!

I’ve also been eating TONS of veggie stir-fries. After a weekend of delicious foods, I’ve been craving some greens!

Regular mix of veggies with butternut squash added, leftover orzo from my party, and some Stacy’s Pita Chips. So addicting!

This was such a delicious wrap. I used an Ezekiel (my obsession), and filled it with a Laughing Cow Garlic & Herb, butternut squash, maple roasted turkey, aji amarillo, and a drizzle of honey. So good! And just some regular mixed veggies on the side, as usual.

I told you I liked my greens! At my aunt’s yesterday, I had a big bowl of broccoli, red onion, squash, spinach, and feta. Also some leftover chicken, orzo, tzatziki, and hummus. Suuuch a good lunch!

Okay, from here on my pictures were taken with my Rebel. Soooo in love with it! I’m definitely still learning about focusing, lighting, etc. so bear with me!

Dessert was necessary last night. I had a tiny bowl of vanilla ice cream topped with homemade chocolate sauce. Mmmm 🙂

Doesn’t my cousin look angelic in this picture?

Don’t laugh at this…I was wearing my aunt’s vest, it was like 11pm, and I was just messing around 🙂

This is getting to be a long post! Don’t worry, I only have breakfast left to share.

Toast topped with sunflower seed butter, and one half with strawberry preserves, and one half with TJ’s Pumpkin Butter.

Cottage cheese with more strawberry preserves, and a sprinkle of granola.

All together…

Okay, I’m done! Thanksgiving grocery shopping is on the menu for today. The stores are going to be craazzzy! But I think we have a great menu planned 🙂 I can’t wait to get started!

My 18th Birthday Weekend

23 Nov

Hola hola!!

Okay, seriously I have had the best weekend EVER. By far, this birthday has been my best yet 😀 I have so many pictures I barely know where to begin!

Saturday morning was crazy. Actually, allll of Saturday was pretty much crazy. After I had my lovely breakfast that my mama prepared for me, we set out to get groceries and get COOKIN!

My mom, grandma, Giselle, and I went to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Giant. I have a huge family and so a lot of food was necessary! We got started on everything as soon as we got back.

Chopping up some olives I believe.

I don’t really have many pictures of prep work because I was just too busy to take any.

This was a leg of lamb that was going to roast. What can I say–my family needs meat! My mom marinated it in a mix of yogurt, lemon, rosemary, and probably a few other things!

Okay, now the most important part…here’s the whole spread of food. We went for a Greek theme. I always love to have my family try new foods that maybe they haven’t had before.

My Green Salad. I think I’m becoming quite well known for this! It was spring mix, grape tomatoes, cucumber, candied almonds, and lots of feta! And a vinaigrette made with Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil.

An orzo salad made by my mom. This was orzo, olives, parsley, feta, red onion, and grape tomatoes. Amazing! We actually bought asparagus but totally forgot to put it in. Everyone loved this, and many of them thought it was rice! 😀

So for the main dishes, I wanted to do “Build Your Own Pita”. We set out white and whole wheat pitas, chicken, lamb, and a variety of toppings for everyone to make their own sandwiches. There was tomatoes, feta, red onion, hummus, and tzatziki for fillers.

This was homemade tzatziki made by yours truly. I used Ina Garten’s recipe. This woman never fails me! Instead of a whole 1/2 cup of sour cream, I only put in a few TBS. Divine! Seriously, I slathered this on everyyything. My cousin even proclaimed it the best he’d ever had 😀

Pita chips and hummus were a must.

Lemon chicken and the lamb. I ate lots of chicken and some lamb as well. I can’t even remember the last time I had lamb, but this was delicious. Especially with the cool tzatziki!

Gorgeous platter of melted brie and grapes. We simply spread honey and a little fig jam on top of a wheel of brie and sprinkled crushed walnuts on top. Then popped it into a 350 oven for 5-10 minutes and there you have it, the most delicious cheese in the world. Addicting I tell you.

My mom’s Swedish meatballs. I’m not exactly sure what the sauce is, but basically butter, flour, dill, lemon, and other things. Apparently she used to make these ALL the time way back when, and everyone just loved them! They were really good.

There definitely wasn’t enough room for everything on one table.

The table. Sorry about the obtrusive salad tossers. Those things were like shovels! Ah, everything was seriously SO tasty, and everyone loved it. I love pleasing my family and having them like new things!

Much socializing, picture taking, and present opening was up next…

My brother Stephen and my cousin David.

Aunt Esther and Uncle Victor.

I think this picture is so cool. My great grandma is in front, and she is surrounded by her sons and daughters. I love it!

My fashionista mama and I standing in front of (one of) my birthday cakes.I actually don’t really like cake. The only exceptions are cheesecake (doesn’t really count) and carrot cake. We picked up this beauty at Whole Foods.

And of course, I was sung to!

An off-centered chocolate cake, also from WF. We probably could’ve done without this but I guess it’s better to have extra dessert than not enough!

The best brownies evaaa! The original plan was just to have brownies (because I like them SO much more than cake) and ice cream. And of course homemade chocolate sauce for some delicious sundaes. I don’t know why I never managed to take a picture of the sauce though!

So next up was present opening. I got many lovely things from my relatives, but the best present came last…unfortunately my brother decided to make a video rather than take pictures sooo I only have a few images that captured this momentous event.


I can’t even say how excited and ecstatic I was when I opened the gift!! I absolutely can’t wait to start using it and play around with it. Thank you mom and dad, it was the best gift ever! And thank you for the entire party, and for flying mom out here and for everything else. I really couldn’t have asked for a better 18th birthday 😀 Love you both!

I actually left the camera at my aunt’s house until I go back there tomorrow for the rest of the week. I don’t have a case and don’t want to risk it getting damaged or scratched or anything at school!

Anyways, the party went on and eventually ended. We stayed up verrry late cleaning but it was all worth it. I had the best weekend, and can’t believe that Thanksgiving is this week! And then only 3 more weeks of school til I’m HOME!!!!!!

My gorgeous cousins Stephanie and Katherine!

This is the third “4 Generations” picture we’ve taken. I love that we can do this 🙂

Alrighty, I just got back from the gym and it is definitely time for a shower. I hope you all enjoyed this looong post 😀


Today’s the Day…

21 Nov

I’M 18 TODAY!!!!!!!!

Today’s going to be filled with family, food, and more. I can’t wait to eat to my heart’s content and to see all the people I love most. My mom and brother are here and I couldn’t be happier!

We have a tradition at home of having breakfast in bed. Obviously, I’m not home, but my mom brought me breakfast…on my aunt’s couch! Haha. I had all my favorites of course.

My very favorite Fage 2%, Nature’s Path Pumpkin Flax Granola, a sliced banana, and sunflower seed butter. My mom made it perfectly 🙂

We have to leave pretty soon to go grocery shopping for my partayyy.

Ah, I have so many things I want to share! I guess I’ll just do it quickly!

So the other night I told you I did something pretty fun at school. It was absolutely POURING rain, complete with thunder and lightning. My friends and I were hanging out in my room and we heard tons of people outside. We went out there to see what was going on.

People were putting on trash bags and sliding down this huge hill behind my dorm. Of course I joined in!

Ah, so much fun. I got SO dirty. We’re talking mud in my hair, face, pants, everything.

Such a college moment.

So my grandpa is here right now from Peru, and my mom and I went out to lunch with him and his wife. We went to this amazing Peruvian restaurant called La Limena. Highly recommend it to anyone in the area!!

Blurry yuca fries. AMAZING.

Choclo (Peruvian corn) con queso.

Ceviche Mixto–Shrimp, calamari, octopus, tilapia. Also some red onion, sweet potato, sweet corn, and toasted corn.

I demolished this. They give you a spoon as well to drink the “tiger’s milk”!

Lenguado Frito–a whole deep-fried flounder. Sounds heavy, but it’s actually light and crispy. This was my mom’s but of course I had a few bites!

Picarones, a kind of Peruvian donut. It’s served with a syrup as well. Sorry about all these blurry pictures. It wasn’t too light in the restaurant and of course I didn’t want flash!

My Grandpa Edgar and his wife Manuela.

Okay, I gotta start cooking. But first, my sister sent a package of homemade granola bars with my mom for me to enjoy. They are gorgeous and taste even better.


So many surprises.

20 Nov

The day started out as it usually does.

Alarm goes off at 6:51, get up, stumble to the bathroom, make breakfast.

This is actually a recycled picture, but you get the idea.

I went to math class and then art history. Originally, I’d been planning on going to the gym between art history and sociology, but I was kind of tired and decided I’d go to a class later on with a friend. I did get some work done during my break though.

At 12:30, I headed off to my sociology class. Snoozer as usual. At 1:40, I was finally free from that dreadful class, and walked back to the dorm with my friend.

As I was walking to my room, I saw my roommate and another friend standing outside my door. It looks like this:

Thinking it was them that decorated the door, I started saying “thank you” and “you guys are so nice!” But as I looked closer, I noticed that those notes were from people back home. That’s when I got even more confused! I asked my roommate if my mom had sent her those to decorate the door with. That’s when she goes, “Hey, who is that over there?”

I look over, confused, and see MY MOM!!! I could not believe it. I have never been more surprised in my life. She had told me she was coming on the 30th, and even earlier in the day I was thinking, “Okay, only 10 more days til she is here!” I was not expecting to come back from class and have her there. Best birthday surprise ever!!!

She came bearing gifts as well. She arrived late last night and got to work on a certain delicious treat.

Homemade cinnamon rolls! She wanted me to give them away to all my friends. We definitely went up to the boys floor and they just gobbled them down. We had 3 baking sheets full of them–more than 60 total. Yeah…we only have about 9 left now. They absolutely LOVED them. Some took two or more.

Since today was my uncle Shawn’s birthday, we headed out to have dinner with the family. We went to the usual Chinese restaurant that they all love. I was just happy to be with my mom finally! Three months is way too long.

Everyone kept telling us we look exactly alike. I kind of see it a little now.

Such a fun night! This weekend is now going to be AWESOME!!! I can’t wait. Bigggg family party on Saturday. My grandpa is here from Peru, and my brother is coming in from New York.

A few other things…

Yesterday I had this blueberry Chobani. I’ve had this before, but a long time ago. Ah, way too sweet for me! I’m definitely used to plain yogurt. That’s a little sunflower seed butter in there.

Okay. Right after I wrote that little review, I heard some screaming from outside. It was raining like crazy, and there was thunder and lightning. My friends and I went outside to see what was going on.

You’ll have to wait and see what happened 😉

Busy as ever

18 Nov

Ugh, it’s been such a busy week! Too bad my birthday week couldn’t be all fun, right? Well, it hasn’t been all bad, but I just have a paper to write and it’s a drag. But I’m halfway done with it! Even though it’s due Sunday, I’m pretending like it’s due Friday so I don’t have to worry about it over the weekend.

I have class soon, so no time for a lot of words. Here are some highlights from the last few days though!

Oats in a jar topped with a little blueberry muffin and candied almonds.

Newman’s Own Organics Organic Dried Apples. I loved these! I was expecting them to be super chewy like dried fruit normally is, but they are soft and almost spongy. I ate them like this as a pre-workout snack:

Topped with peanut butter, what could be better?

My BearNaked Fruit & Nut Bar. I got this as a sample a few weeks ago. It was super soft, almost like an oatmeal cookie. I ate half of this post-workout to hold me through class. Topped with what else…

You know me too well.

Lunch yesterday was amazing! I was inspired by the lovely Karina of Like Some Cat from Japan. Her pumpkin and quinoa mixture looked so good that I had to recreate it. I combined 3/4 c quinoa, ~ 1/2 c black beans, a sprinkle of edamame, halved grape tomatoes, ~1/3 c pumpkin, cinnamon, chile powder, salt, and pepper. I simply microwaved this for a few minutes and voila! Oh, yes and topped with a little cottage cheese, a few candied almonds, and a drizzle of honey. A nutritious and filling lunch. For some extra protein, I had a fried egg. Once I ate around the whites, I put the yolk on my quinoa and let it run all over. So good.

Mmm, I love uncooked yolk.

Breakfast this morning. Cinnamon oat bran topped with blueberry muffin crumbles and peanut butter. Simple and amazing. I’m glad I restocked on my 365 Crunchy Peanut Butter this weekend 🙂 One week was too long without it!

I have a butternut squash I might do something with tonight. I’ve been dying to cook it for so long!