Thursday, April 10, 2014

Let's Talk Ice Cream

I love ice cream. I try not to eat ice cream as often as I want it, because that would leave little time for other things. Plus, you know, veggies and stuff.

Anyway, Matt loves ice cream too, and it has been one of the things hardest to replace since we learned he was lactose intolerant. Yes, there are several non-dairy ice creams available now, but we haven't been able to find one he really likes.
There a few reasons for this. First, most of the ones people like best are made from coconut milk, but the poor guy's allergic to coconut too. So scratch those. Second, just consider the scale: there is a whole aisle devoted to regular ice cream, but usually about half a case for the alternative stuff. This means the non-dairy folks have to cover the basics - vanilla, chocolate, and sometimes a few fruit flavored ones. That's pretty much all we see, none of which he got terribly excited about. Fair enough - I don't go for those flavors either. This means he's been going through life ice-cream-free for quite a while.

A few weeks ago my mom brought us a gift; this ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid. She figured I could now make some ice cream he could actually eat. Awesome! The next challenge was finding a good recipe, which was harder than I thought. Most of the ones that I found were coconut-based again, or had descriptions and reviews that made it clear they were not the creamy indulgent experience I was aiming for, but rather a sorbet-like concoction. No. We're shooting for ice cream, darn it!

So, after some experimentation, I am pleased to share with you my 2 non-dairy ice cream recipes. Matt's favorite, Chocolate Brownie Marshmallow, and my favorite, Coffee. Both were made with my Kitchen Aid attachment, but should work in a regular ice cream maker, or even using a machine-free method like this one. Enjoy!

This would be the coffee ice cream with hot fudge. I think the other was eaten before we managed pictures!

Dairy Free Chocolate Brownie Marshmallow Ice Cream

Ingredients
3 cups soy creamer (I use Silk)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
1 cup super fine sugar
2 brownies
1 cup mini marshmallows

Follow the instructions for your ice cream maker. For mine, the bowl needs to spend at least 15 hours in the freezer before mixing.

Heat soy creamer in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in cocoa powder and vanilla. Heat until just about to boil.

In a kitchen aid (or bowl with hand mixer), beat egg yolks and sugar until light yellow and fluffy. Reduce speed and mix in heated creamer, 1/2 cup at a time, until all incorporated.

Return to pan over medium heat. Heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens slightly. It won't get all the way to the custard stage (like regular ice cream), but it should get thicker and very smooth.

Remove from heat, bring to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Toss the brownies and marshmallows in the freezer at the same time.

When ready to mix, follow the directions for your ice cream maker. For mine, you attach the bowl to the Kitchen Aid, set on low, then pour in ice cream base and mix for ~20 minutes. Chopped brownie pieces and mini marshmallows should be added for just the last 2-3 minutes.

Transfer ice cream to sealable container and freeze. If you eat it now, it's like soft serve. Ice cream needs to cure for a few hours to reach real ice cream consistency.

Enjoy!

Dairy Free Coffee Ice Cream

Ingredients
3 cups soy creamer (I use Silk)
2 shots of espresso
3 Tablespoons instant espresso powder
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup super fine sugar

Follow the instructions for your ice cream maker. For mine, the bowl needs to spend at least 15 hours in the freezer before mixing.

Heat soy creamer in a saucepan over medium heat. Dissolve espresso powder into coffee, add vanilla. Stir into creamer. Heat until just about to boil.

In a kitchen aid (or bowl with hand mixer), beat egg yolks and sugar until light yellow and fluffy. Reduce speed and mix in heated creamer, 1/2 cup at a time, until all incorporated.

Return to pan over medium heat. Heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens slightly. It won't get all the way to the custard stage (like regular ice cream), but it should get thicker and very smooth.

Remove from heat, bring to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

When ready to mix, follow the directions for your ice cream maker. For mine, you attach the bowl to the Kitchen Aid, set on low, then pour in ice cream base and mix for ~20 minutes.

Transfer ice cream to sealable container and freeze. If you eat it now, it's like soft serve. Ice cream needs to cure for a few hours to reach real ice cream consistency.

Enjoy!


Seriously, I hope some of you try this out - they're good enough that I don't even have to buy separate regular ice cream for myself!

TTFN!
Cady



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April Fools' Day!

I hope you had a fabulous April Fools' Day! I have somewhat mixed feelings about this holiday. I'm really not a fan of the kind of mean jokes and pranks that often get pulled on this day. But I do like an excuse for some silliness.

This year I went with the dinner time theme. We had 'cupcakes' for dinner. They were meatloaf made in a cupcake tin (from Grandma's recipe), with mashed potato frosting, green pea sprinkles, and asparagus candles. The photos aren't great, but Max got a kick out of them and they were pretty yummy.



For our dinner beverage we had strawberry 'juice' that was actually Jello. Max tried really hard to drink it through the straw before switching to a spoon.



For dessert we had 'grilled cheese sandwiches' which were actually toasted pound cake with orange frosting for cheese. These were also a hit. Overall, Max spent quite a bit of dinner time cracking up.


The other thing I've come to love about April Fools' Day is the way many of my favorite tech companies get into the spirit. Did you find Pokemon on your maps yesterday? Or try to buy a Flux Capacitor Car Charger? There were a bunch on fun tech gags this year, here's a list of some of the best: http://techcrunch.com/2014/04/01/best-of-april-fools-2014-roundup-list

Did you partake in any silliness?

TTFN!
Cady

Monday, March 31, 2014

Emerald City Comic Con 2014

We spent the weekend in Seattle for the Emerald City Comic Con.  It was three fun filled days of absolute geeky awesomeness!  Aria had not one but three costumes!  Thank goodness she is willing to recycle one of them for Halloween.

Day 1: Kiki from Kiki's Delivery Service on Friday.  This was by far her most popular costume. Seriously 40 people asked to take her picture.  

Aria found a few other Studio Ghibli characters including another Kiki!  We actually didn't take that many pics because we were all just a little overwhelmed with the size of the comic con and the sheer number of people.

Day 2: Zita from Zita the Spacegirl.  Not as many people were familiar with her costume but those that did really made her feel special.  


The highlight of the day though was taking pics at Gasworks Park.  Seriously it made for a really awesome backdrop for Zita pics. We sent a few of the best ones to Ben Hatke (Zita creator).  Yes, he responded.  Said they were great and that the park was amazing.  Yes, I totally geeked out that he responded.  Hey, Zita totally rocks.  

Day 3: Coraline.  This is actually one costume I made very little of.  I made the hair clip and the boot covers because oddly enough iconic yellow rainboots in kid sizes are near impossible to find.  We dyed her hair blue but since we didn't bleach it, it wasn't super apparent. However when she gets in the right light you can see the blue sheen. 


Poor girl didn't feel well the last day.  We thought it might be from too much geeky fun so we let we take a nap at the comic con.  I asked her repeatedly if she wanted to go back to the hotel, but my dedicated little geek didn't want to leave.  Sadly even after a nap, she wasn't feeling well so we decided it was probably best if we left and let her sleep at the hotel.  

But that is not all...
A big highlight from Aria's weekend was visiting the Comic Book Characters for Causes (CBC4C) booth.  She met many of these folks at last years Rose City Comic Con.  They made her feel like a rock star then and they did the same at ECCC.  These folks are seriously amazing.  Not only are they really talented cosplayers but they use their talents to raise money for charitable organizations like the Seattle's Children Hospital.  If you are in the charitable mood, click on the link above to go their site to see how you can support their endeavors.  I am pretty sure they will have their t-shirts up for sale soon.  You can also follow CBC4C on Facebook.  If you can't support them monetarily, liking their page and sharing is extremely helpful.

You might recognize Abi Sue (I posted pics last year of Aria and Abi both dressed as Rogue), the Tony Stark behind Aria I believe is Jason, one of the owners/founders of CBC4C.  Gambit, I remember from RCCC.  I'm not sure of his real name though he does an excellent Gambit.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure who the other talented cosplayers are.  [Photo by Snap it! Photography]

 Aria with Kristen (aka Captain Marvel), owner/founder of CBC4C.  She has a cosplay page on FB as well.  [Photo by Snap it! Photography]

Aria with Kristen again (this time she is Valkyrie).  The kiddo really really really wanted to stop by their booth again and snap another photo.  [Photo by Snap it! Photography]

Aria wouldn't stop talking about this fabulous group of cosplayers.  She remembers how kind they were to her from last year and she was just shocked they remembered her this year.  Anybody who makes my child beam from ear to ear is pretty much a superhero in my book (costume optional). 

~cheers!~
Robin


Monday, March 17, 2014

Long days, short years

The days are long but the years are short

I think like many people but perhaps most particularly like many parents that phrase resonates in the very core of my being.  It seems only yesterday that I brought my not so tiny newborn (all 9 lbs and 15 oz of her) home from the hospital.  


Aria could already hold her head up at birth and the nurses jokingly referred to her as the 3 month old newborn.  

She was crawling by 5 months, pulling herself up and cruising with the aid of furniture by 7 months, and walking by 9 months.

Quicker than I would have imagined, we were celebrating her first birthday.  Already an old pro at walking, she instead worked on climbing, jumping, and running.

And then she was two.  Her sweet and loving nature was shining brightly by then.  No animals or even bugs needed to fear her soft hands.  It was as if she had a connection with our more vulnerable animal friends and she treated them with sweet gentleness.  


The threes were more challenging, as she strove to figure out the boundaries.  She had big emotions but an even bigger heart.  She was most at home in the woods or at the coast.  She concentrated fiercely as she dug and played in dirt and sand.  


By the time Aria was four, she had her own sense of style and a huge personality to match.  Creative, imaginative, bright, compassionate, and endlessly inquisitive... 


By the age of five, Miss Aria had become one of the most generous kids (or actually people) that I know.  She started a giveaway box to house all the trinkets and toys she wants to give to her friends and cousins.  


I've no idea what awaits us at age 6, but I'm sure she will astound and amaze me as usual.  I'm such in love with my beautiful child with her eccentric personality and old soul.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Basking in the Sun

Oh, how I've been enjoying the sunny sunshine here in Puddletown the last few days, Spring is on it's way!
We finished this adorable little sleepy head this week and I took him out to enjoy some of that fresh air as well.
Bamboletta, Winterlude, DFH, Waldorf Doll, MG, Tansy Dolls
mama?

Meet our newest little monkey! Oh, those chubby cheeks are incredibly pinchable! But I will resist, sweet one, and save all (okay...most) of the cuddles for you & your new mama.

Bamboletta, Winterlude, DFH, Waldorf Doll, MG, Tansy Dolls
ooooh ooh!! ahhh ahhh!!

He is wearing our "Sock Monkey" themed outfit with a soft chocolate onesie to match, and boy, does this guy like monkeying around!

Bamboletta, Winterlude, DFH, Waldorf Doll, MG, Tansy Dolls
hugs?

Check out his super fluffy hair - it feels so shiny and soft. He loves his cuddles and I am happy to help him out. Here's a close up of his gorgeous locks, basking in the sun:

Bamboletta, Winterlude, DFH, Waldorf Doll, MG, Tansy Dolls

 What's that on his wrist, you ask?

Bamboletta, Winterlude, DFH, Waldorf Doll, MG, Tansy Dolls, Lalidolls
"pluto"

When we say custom, we mean it! In addition to embroidering birthmarks, we are happy to create special symbols and words for our customers to make their special Tansy Doll truly one of a kind. This fellow gets a cool new tattoo to show off to his friends. :D

Bamboletta, Winterlude, DFH, Waldorf Doll, MG, Tansy Dolls, Lalidolls, pattern

Alright, time for a change to show off those cuuuuuute matching sock monkey diapers!

Bamboletta, Winterlude, DFH, Waldorf Doll, MG, Tansy Dolls, Lalidolls, pattern
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

And his adorable bellybutton - oh how I love a bellybutton!


Our wee mister got a little chilly (regardless of the sun, it is Portland, ya know...) so I thought I'd give him his hat again for some fun nakey-time.

And, what would be a post about our babies if I didn't show off his precious little hiney!!

Bamboletta, Winterlude, DFH, Waldorf Doll, MG, Tansy Dolls, Lalidolls, pattern
*pinch!*

I hope you all enjoy a wonderful weekend! I am going to go run after this young rascal and squeeze in a few more hugs before sending him across the pond to have many fun adventures with his new mommy.

xoxoxoxo,
Lesley

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Recent Projects

Hopefully you guys have seen some of the crazy-cute babies we've been making recently (like this one, this one, this one, or this one). But, you know us crafty types can't do just one thing, right? I though I'd show you some of the other stuff I've been up to craft-wise. (Including links to patterns and whatnot!)

 Needle-felted butterfly fairy! No tutorial here, as she was made from my imagination. But she was pretty fun! She hangs under a cascade of flower petals, kind of like a vertical mobile.

Knit cloche-style hat. I've actually made 2 of these recently for Craftster swaps. I think they're super cute. The pattern is a free pdf download and can be found here


This picture doesn't really do this one justice. It's a big, super soft, neck bow. The pattern is from Tiny Owl Knits on Etsy, and is available for purchase here. It was easy to follow, so I highly recommend it. I used this delicious yarn that is a baby suri alpaca, merino wool, bamboo blend that I'd just like to swim in. So soft and silky! You can get your own here.


"What is that thing?" you say?
Why, it's a 3D printed snow plow, of course! I've been having a blast with the 3D printer, and I figured it was time for Max to get something out of it. He really loves snow plows, and has been stealing my binder clips to be make-shift plows for quite a while. So when I found this thing on Thingiverse, I knew I had to make him one. That's Diesel modeling it up there, but it's been tested on quite a few trains the last few days. He loves it!

Do you have any projects you want to share? Or brag about? Let us know!

TTFN!
Cady

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Peek-a-boo!

Hey folks!

I hope you guys are having a nice weekend. We've been having amazing sunny, dare I say, Springtime?..weather here in Portland and it has been so nice.

Cady, Robin, and I have been busy makin' babies together (one of my favorite overused jokes, I know...hah).
I wanted to share this little sweetheart that we just finished this week - with such a sweet pigtail! She is a handful, this one. Quite mischievous...much like myself. :) We have become fast friends.

Tansy Dolls, Waldorf Baby, Bamboletta, DFH, Dragonflys Hollow, Winterlude
one, two, three...
She is quite silly and enjoys playing games. I mean, check out those sweet woodland animal diapers - can't you just picture an epic game of hide-and-go-seek in a fairy forest somewhere with this wee fox baby?
Tansy Dolls, Waldorf Baby, Bamboletta, DFH, Dragonflys Hollow, Waldorf Doll pattern
ready or not, here I come!
Not so fast, sweet babe... it's time to change that outfit of yours and show off your cute little birthmark.

Tansy Dolls, Waldorf Baby, Bamboletta, DFH, Dragonflys Hollow, Waldorf Doll pattern
so pinchable!
 It is truly a joy to create these custom babies to match their sweet mamas & papas in such great detail - freckles, birthmarks, glasses, the things that make all of our bodies special and unique - they are some of our favorite things to work on. :)
Are you ready for your Fox oufit, little one?

Tansy Dolls, Waldorf Baby, Bamboletta, DFH, Dragonflys Hollow, Waldorf Doll pattern
Ah, there's that smile. :D

Tansy Dolls, Waldorf Baby, Bamboletta, DFH, Dragonflys Hollow, Waldorf Doll pattern

Ack! The cuteness! Cady creates these amazing hat & bootie sets for us. This Fox design is one of my personal favorites.

So snuggly! Alrightie, I am ready to play - shall we?

Pat-a-cake? Sure!
She is anxious to get home with her forever family and begin a lifetime of new adventures. Soon, wee one, soon...

Time to give you a kiss on the cheek and one last hug. We will miss you, dear fox babe! Make sure to keep in touch.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone!
xoxoxoxo,
Lesley