London Fog Ice Cream

When the weather gets cold, I love to make tea… or at least tea ice cream! That serves the same purpose, right?

It’s no secret that I love the combination of vanilla and earl grey, also known as the ‘London Fog’ flavor combo. While I tend to be a purist about my London Fog lattes and treats (see last summer’s London fog truffles), it’s not unusual to see lavender included in some variations. Guest blogger Stephanie actually made a batch of earl grey lavender tea cupcakes two summers ago (I can’t believe how long ago that seems), which she raved about, despite also being a purist with keeping her Starbucks London Fog lattes lavender-free.

Now I know what you are thinking: Charlotte, you LOVE lavender, why are you pretending that adding it to earl grey is such a big deal. Totally fair. But until this week, I loved both of those flavors on their own. Not anymore.

The rich bergamot flavor from the black tea combined with the floral flavors of the lavender make for an unforgettable combination. If you prefer your ice cream super smooth, skip the chocolate chips. If like me however you like a little texture and crunch, pile the chocolate on!

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups heavy cream
  • 1 Cup milk
  • ¾ Cups sugar
  • 4 Egg yolks
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 6 Bags of lavender earl grey tea
  • 1 Cup chocolate chips

Recipe

  • Combine heavy cream and milk in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a light simmer. Meanwhile, vigorously whisk together the sugar and egg yolks. When the milk is simmering, temper about ⅓ of it into the egg and sugar. Pour egg, sugar and milk mixture back with the rest of the milk mixture and heat on low until it reaches a temperature of 160 degrees. Whisk constantly - no one wants scrambled eggs.
  • Once the custard reaches 160 degrees, pour it into a new bowl. Add in the tablespoon of vanilla as well as the tea bags. Refrigerate until completely cool (8 hours or overnight). Once cool, churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. In the last few minutes, add in the chocolate chips.
  • Return to freezer to harden up more or enjoy immediately.

Looking Ahead to 2017

Is it too late to still be making New Year’s resolutions? What if I call them simply ‘resolutions’ and pretend like they have nothing to do with the start of the new year?

My New Year kicked off with a giant stack of gingerbread pancakes. Nom nom. 

My New Year kicked off with a giant stack of gingerbread pancakes. Nom nom. 

I’ve been looking for an excuse to re-examine my blog content and my eating habits so I’m using the start of 2017 to do it! I’m not one for crazy resolutions like going from not working out to making it to the gym 5 times a week (although wouldn’t it be great if I had that sort of self motivation?). Small life changes that lead to a better lifestyle though are right up my alley.

Cookies and cream inside a cookie cake. Does that count as meta?

Cookies and cream inside a cookie cake. Does that count as meta?

Being mindful about what I eat

If you know me beyond the pages of this blog, you might know that I order take out, a lot. I love to bake but when it comes to cooking I find myself uninspired. Plus, if I only have time to pull together either dinner or cookies, I’m gonna go with cookies.

In an attempt to take back control over what I’m putting in my body, I’m abstaining from ordered take out for the month of January. This sounds like a no-brainer but for someone like me who used to order takeout two to three times per week this seemed like an impossible task. Well, nine days in and I’m still going strong. I’ve brought lunch to work every day and I’ve been much better about meal planning so that I have time to eat better foods that I prepare at home. Wish me luck for another twenty days of this!

Happy Tongue out Tuesday from Onyx

Happy Tongue out Tuesday from Onyx

Returning to storytelling

In re-reading some of my older content, I was reminded of why I started this blog in the first place. It was going to be an outlet for me to talk about my food adventures, not just finished products. I won’t pretend to be the best at baking or ice cream-making, so I want to keep testing and trying new recipes to hone in on what works for me. One of the ways I’ll be doing this, will be by taking the time to tell the stories behind my food choices. Don’t worry, there will still be tons of pretty pictures and recipes but for my own sake I’m also going to include more of the ‘why’.

Since I’m always looking for an excuse to buy a new cookbook (or six), I’ll be spending a little more time sharing my favorites with you all and diving into which recipes are in my regular rotation. I have an absurdly extensive cookbook collection but I hardly ever take the time to dig into them as much as they each deserve. To fix this, I’ll be going through one cookbook per month and walking through two or three recipes that I love to make and eat. Hooray for storytelling.

It was so cold on our wedding planning trip to Maine, we had to stop in for a quick coffee at Bard! 

It was so cold on our wedding planning trip to Maine, we had to stop in for a quick coffee at Bard! 

Making time for being creative

This applies to food but mostly to my needlepoint. I have so many projects sitting in limbo at the moment, either because I’ve started them and haven’t gotten around the completing them or because I just never even started. Poor Onyx still doesn’t have a collar and Patrick’s birthday present belt is almost a year late. It’s easy to get caught up in work, the blog, my volunteer projects and everything in between but since I know that being creative is really important to me and stitching is a de-stressor, I’ll be focusing on fitting it into my schedule!

Well, there you have it. I’ll be working my way through those three ‘resolutions’ throughout the year so I’m sure you’ll be seeing the results from it all on these blog pages. What are you working on as part of your New Year resolutions?

 

Spiced Apple Butter Pie

When someone hands you spiced apple butter, make pie with it.

One of my favorite parts of attending weddings is seeing what the bride and groom have chosen to fill their welcome bags with. It’s such a great way to gain some insight on the couple or the place they’ve chosen to get married! Bag stuff with Gatorade and Advil? This couple loves to party and wants you to join in. Old bay chips? Maryland is in their roots. A map of hiking trails near the venue? That one doesn’t need to be explained.

Back in December, I attended a friend from college’s wedding. Her parents have a farm just around the corner from her venue so her wedding favors were straight from her farm. I may not be a big fan of cooked apples but the same can’t be said for apple butter. I LOVE it.

This easy cheat-pie is, well, as easy as pie. The flavor from the spiced apple butter combined with the flakey texture of the puff pastry make it an easy crowd pleaser. Even Onyx is a big fan.

Want to take it up a notch? Whip up ½ cup of heavy cream with 1-2 tablespoons of sugar until stiff peaks form. Top each piece of pie with a big spoonful of your fresh whipped cream!

Thanks Hayley for giving me a reason to play around with spiced apple butter! Now I just have to figure out what to give my own wedding guests. Luckily I’ve got a few months to taste test every chocolate spot between D.C. and Maine.

Ingredients

  • 1 Sheet puff pastry, thawed to be malleable
  • 1 Cup spiced apple butter
  • ½ Cup chopped pecans
  • 1 Egg

Recipe

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degree
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil. Open up the thawed puff pastry sheet and place on baking sheet. Fill the middle third of it with the spiced apple butter and the pecans. Cut seems at 45 degree angles in the side of the two remaining thirds of puff pastry (on either side of the apple butter portion). Fold puff pastry folds one over the other and tuck the last piece underneath the pie. Whisk the egg in a small bowl and brush onto the top of the puff pastry.
  • Bake for 30-40, or until the puff pastry expands and turns golden brown. Let sit 10-15 minutes to cool before digging in.