Sassymonkey's Favourites: July 2015

A few of my favourite things in July

A few of my favourite things in July

I have been trying to focus on the things that make me happy. The things that bring me joy. Sometimes they are small things. Sometimes they are big. Here are a few things I loved in July. 

Get to Work Book

Get to Work Book

1. Get to Work Book. Technically this arrived in May, but the calendar goes from July to June so this was the first month I have really played with it. I am not yet using the product pages to their full potential.  I am still figuring them out. I started them off with our BIG project this year - our bathroom renovation. (The 2015-2016 version is sold out. Sorry!)

Frixion pens

Frixion pens

2. FriXion erasable pens. I've been wanting to try FriXion erasable pens for ages but we have so many pens that I've avoided shopping for office supplies. When we were in Montreal this month we stopped by the McGill bookstore and they had a whole display of them. I LOVE THEM! They are perfect for using in my Get to Work Book, which has narrow columns and needs a pretty fine pen. They actually erase pretty darned well, too. If you like a fine, slightly scratchy pen you need to try these. 

Feeling pretty on a week day

Feeling pretty on a week day

3. Simons utility collarless blouse, feather print. When I left Montreal, one of the things I missed the most was Simons. I shopped there so much. Like all stores, it can be hit or miss and the last few times I've been there it's been more of a miss. We did a one day trip to Monteal in July and it was a total hit. I bought all the things, including this shirt. I love the pattern and it works with everything from skinny jeans to pencil skirts. (I am sure other purchases will make future favourite lists.)

Garden Court at the Frick Collection

Garden Court at the Frick Collection

4. The Frick Collection. Whenever I travel for conferences I try to squeeze in one non-conference thing. (Remember that time I went to Boston and saw absolutely nothing of Boston? Exactly.) For this last trip to New York City I focused on the Frick Collection. (Actually, my original plan was to go to the Guggenheim but it's closed on Thursdays.) I LOVED the Frick Collection. It's wonderfully curated and well displayed. It's also not overly large so it only takes a couple of hours to view. Vermeer.  Degas. Rembrandt. Ingres. Pieta. I think it may have been the first time I've seen Sir Thomas Lawrence's work in person (that I can recall). It made me wish, yet again, I had taken at least one art history course in university. I want to go back to the Frick Collection with Lee someday. Note: If you are travelling with your family be aware children under the age of ten are not admitted.  

Fossil Amanda Satchel

Fossil Amanda Satchel

5. Fossil Amanda Satchel. I am cheap when it comes to handbags. Give me a $30 bag and I'll be happy. I'll use it to death or until I get bored. My current bag is 2-3 years old and it is time to start thinking about a replacement. A few months ago we were at the local Tanger Outlets and I saw this bag at Fossil. I fell in love with the colour (it's actually a teensy bit bluer than it looks in the photo). Michael Kors had bags in a similar colour as well. But I couldn't go from a $30 bag to a $200+ bag. Nope. Not happening. So I went to other stores looking for something similar. And then more stores. And more. No dice. We went back to Tanger and I finally just decided to buy it. I was tired of looking. Luckily for me, it ended up being on sale for about 50% off. Score! Procrastination pays off! The Amanda satchel no longer appears to be for sale on the Fossil website, but the Sydney satchel is similar. 

Thoughts While Doing Yoga

image.jpg

"Hmm I need a flow-y yoga. But not too flow-y because when I don't know the flow it's annoying. And not too much down dog but enough to test my new gloves. Oh! Found one. Thank you YouTube." 

"Mountain pose! I'm good at mountain pose." 

"Ugh. So many forward bends." 

"Down dog! Ohhhh these gloves help!" 

"Oh look. A dead fly on the flow. How very not zen." 

"Warrior pose! I LOVE WARRIOR POSE!" 

"Hmmm, my neighbours are outside. I wonder if they can see me." *considers waving and then suppresses the urge*

*looks up at ceiling* "I really, really hate that light fixture. We really need to change it." 

"Down dog. Warrior pose. Rinse. Repeat." 

"Ohhh my lower back likes this." 

"I'm really starting to hate warrior pose." 

"Maybe I should name the dead fly since I keep staring at it." 

"I can't face another downward dog. I'll just lie here on the matt for a minute." 

"Dear self, when you are done, clean your yoga mat." 

"FINAL! DOWN! DOG!" 

"DONE!" 

"Is it nap time now?" 

Happy Ice Cream Month: Breakfast Trash Ice Cream

I am a heavy library user. Every Saturday we head off to our local branch of the Ottawa Public Library and I pick up half a shelf of holds. The OPL doesn't have a limit on how many holds you can have so at any time I tend to have a couple of hundred titles on my hold list. Yes, you read that right. 

I tend to rock the non-fiction pretty hard and every week when I head to the library there are a couple of cookbooks waiting for me. I preview all cookbooks via the library and have for years. This means all cookbooks I buy are ones I'll actually use and have recipes I really want to make. Most cookbooks don't make that list, especially specialty cookbooks. This past spring the Ample Hills Creamery Cookbook hit my shelf. I've been looking for the right ice cream recipe book for awhile and with this book I was pretty sure I'd found it. As I flipped through the book I knew there were lots of recipes I wanted to make but the recipe I had to make first was obvious. 

Breakfast Trash Ice Cream. 

Lee loves sugary cereal. LOVES IT. I am not a huge fan of cold cereal in general but when I do eat it, I have to confess I like the sugary stuff. Cap'n Crunch and I go way back. 

We had a long, cold spring that really did not scream, "Make ice cream now!" I filed the recipe away, buying a box of cereal here and there over the last few months. Last week we finally remembered to put the ice cream maker in the chest freezer and, as always, I came back from the annual BlogHer conference with a need to make all the things

July is National Ice Cream Month so it seemed like the right time to make ice cream. We ran a few errands Saturday morning to pick up the last of the supplies. And then a second trip out when I realized I had accidentally bought table cream instead of whipping cream. (Dear self, look at the words, not the colours, on the carton. Purple doesn't always mean heavy cream.) 

First, I steamed some milk and then put in some cereal to steep. Yes, I steeped cereal. It was odd. And perfect. You're essentially making cereal milk at this point. 

TIP: Breakfast Trash uses a lot of different kinds of cereal. You can find at least three of those types in the mini cereal packs and each box is the perfect amount for this step. We'll take the remaining boxes with us on our upcoming cottage vacation. 

Steeping cereal in hot milk is not something I thought I'd ever do... 

Steeping cereal in hot milk is not something I thought I'd ever do... 

After your cereal has steeped you need to strain it. Then you add the skim milk powder and sugar. Once that's all combined you add the cream and put it on the stove over medium heat to coming up to 110F. This won't take all that long but you'll want to stand there and keep and eye on it and stir occasionally. While it's coming up to temperature, separate two eggs and put the yolks in a medium bowl.

When your milk and cream mixture hits 110F, take about a half cup of the mix and slowly add it to the eggs, stirring the whole time. When it's a uniform colour, and it's obvious you haven't accidentally scrambled your egg yolks, add the egg mixture to the cream. Put the pot back on medium heat, attach a candy thermometer, and bring up to 165F. You'll need to stir regularly to makes sure nothing sticks to the bottom. As soon as it hits 165F you pull the pot off the stove and stick it in an ice water bath for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. I didn't want to stick a hot pot in ice water so stuck a bowl in my water bath and poured the mixture into the bowl. I think this may have helped cool it down faster. 

Trix, Froot Loops, and Fruity Pebbles are a colourful combination.  

Trix, Froot Loops, and Fruity Pebbles are a colourful combination.  

While the ice cream base was chilling out in the water bath I started on the cereal crunch. The recipe calls for Fruit Pebbles and Froot Loops but we also had some Trix kicking about so I tossed in some of that, too. You have to knead the cereal with your hands to break it down a bit. Trix does not break down easily, just FYI. Fruity Pebbles, on the other hand, break down very easily. 

When you've broken down the cereal, you toss it with some skim milk powder and a very small amount of sugar. Take some melted butter and pour it over and mix it all up You'll have some small clumps. This is perfect! Spread it out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and pop it into a 275F oven for 15-20 minutes. You want it to get toasted but you don't really want it to brown. I found 15 minutes was perfect. 

Cereal crunch ready for the oven!  

Cereal crunch ready for the oven!  

While the crunch was in the oven, I poured the ice cream base into a container and stuck it in the fridge to cool down. The Ample Hills recipe says you only need to let it chill out for a couple of hours. Some people say it needs to chill for at least 8 hours. If you don't do the ice bath step after pulling the ice cream base off the stove I recommend leaving it to chill in the fridge over night. 

This is when you do all the dishes. Or, if you are me, when you get Lee to do all the dishes. I make messes. He cleans them up. We both eat yummy food. It works for us. Then you do nothing at all ice cream related for a few hours. I took a nap. Naps are delicious. 

I let the ice cream base chill for about 2.5 hours. Then it was time to grab the ice cream maker base from the freezer, attach it to my KitchenAid and play. 

Churn baby churn! #icecream

A video posted by Karen Ballum (@sassymonkey) on

Remember, your ice cream maker needs to already be moving before you start to to pour in the ice cream base. If you pour in the base before you start churning it will lock up. I churned for 20 minutes. It possibly could have gone a bit longer but my kitchen was rather warm and humid yesterday so I was going for the coldest churn I could get. 

If it's your first time making ice cream, you will find that your ice cream isn't super solid at this point. It's the consistency of soft serve. I took a taste of the base at this point and it tasted like cereal milk but also like ice cream and it was kind of mind bendy. 

While you can add your solids to the last couple of minutes of churning, I didn't want to do that for this particular recipe. (I totally would if I was adding something like chocolate chips or Oreo crumbs.) I scooped the ice cream out of the churn with a large spatula and folded in the cereal crumbs. I didn't add all the cereal crumbs. I had about half a cup left over. Save them. You'll want them. 

All mixed up and ready to chill out in the freezer until after dinner.  

All mixed up and ready to chill out in the freezer until after dinner.  

At this point I stuck the ice cream in our chest freezer. When we pulled it out three hours later the centre of the container was still pretty soft but the edges were nice and firm. Making ice cream takes time. And patience. 

Ready to eat!  

Ready to eat!  

The verdict? Good. Really good. Lee is absolutely smitten with it. And that leftover cereal crunch I didn't mix in? Lee sprinkled it over his ice cream like sprinkles. He declared it perfection. It tastes like our childhood. 

Want to make it? Head over to Delish to get the full Breakfast Trash recipe. Play with the different cereals. Tell me your favourite combinations.