Happiness Project#83: The Fruitastic Breakfast Smoothie!

 

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Let’s talk about smoothies. Or milkshakes. Or maybe both. Since starting chemotherapy 4 weeks ago, my taste buds have gone, well, a wee bit wacky. Many of the things that I used to love to indulge in, I simply don’t love anymore. Like coffee and chocolate. I know. Two things that simply don’t taste like coffee, or chocolate anymore. Truly saddening, right? *sigh* I can only hope that next year, one I’ve completed chemotherapy, I’ll finally be able to enjoy both of these Mom “staples” again.

Until then, I’ve developed a list of things that I DO truly still enjoy right now. Mashed Potatoes, White Rice, Buttered Toast, Broccoli, Snap Peas, Peaches, Grapes and best yet, Strawberries! Can I get a hallelujah for strawberries?? Whew. Thanks Be. So to celebrate the list of things that I DO still enjoy indulging in, I’ve been on a smoothie/milkshake making frenzy! Because somehow, this Mama is determined to create the BEST fruity mix!

After a couple of trail & errors, I’m overjoyed to say that I’ve finally got it JUST right! And I truly know so, after my 3-1/2 year old came running up to me in the kitchen, hugging my leg while saying, “You make the best smoothies, Mommy!” Yeah, I nearly crumbled up into a giant puddle of love right then and there. Thanks Be for my greatest fan: my beautiful, sassy, enthusiastic Little Girl. She makes everything better.

Anyhow, back to this smoothie. Or milkshake, since true to any classic milkshake, this does incorporate milk.  You ready for one of the fruitiest breakfast drinks you’ll ever come across? Let’s do this! You’ll need:

2 cups fresh, rinsed and sliced strawberries

1 cup fresh, sliced peaches, either white or yellow, your choice

1/2 cup sliced banana

1-1/2 cup ice cubes

3 scoops vanilla ice cream

1/2 cup whole milk or orange juice

Throw all of those fresh ingredients into a blender, and pulse for 3-5 minutes until each of the ingredients is fully blended.

Spoon out this fruitastic smoothie into 4 of your favorite serving glasses. And serve while it’s cold!

Your tummies, and your mornings will thank you!

Until next time, xoxoxo

Happiness Project#79: Lemon Ice Cream Cake!

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Adult friendships are, well, difficult. To put it lightly. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have three very close adult friends in the last 20 years, two of which live out of state from me. And because of my naturally reclusive nature, made even more so since becoming bi-polar, with an anxiety disorder, it’s not easy for me to become attached to a new adult friend. Again, because of my reclusive nature. So when I have allowed myself to become very close to another female friend, I tend to give my all to that person. In every way that I’m physically & emotionally able to.

For over a year & a half, I became very close to a female friend living within my area. To where I truly loved this friend of mine, and would do virtually anything for her. A relationship that I believed was mutual. Until nearly 3 months ago, when I was slammed with a mountain load of physical & emotional stress, and felt myself spiraling down within my darkness. And felt like I could barely help myself, more or less anyone else. A situation which became depressively worse when this very close friend of mine all of sudden (out of nowhere), disappeared from my life, in every way. With no explanation or warning as to why. Which broke my heart, and left me feeling lost and confused.

Just recently, after initiating contact with my friend, and learning that our expectations within a friendship were, and had always been vastly different from one another’s, I realized that I could not hold on to a relationship that showed no possibility of a continuing friendship. So though it broke my heart all over again, I said goodbye to my friend of a year & half. Someone who I loved and cherished dearly. Because I knew that it was best for the both of us.

Through the entire waiting period in between when my friend disappeared, and then finally acknowledging that it was time to say goodbye, I realized something incredibly significant in regards to what I need and want within a true, real friendship. Or in this case, what was not acceptable to me, within (any) relationship. Which is this, no matter how harsh this may sound to those who don’t know or understand me: please do not ever just disappear, with no explanation, from the lives of those who love you. It’s one thing for a teenager to do such (because many teenagers may not understand the importance of honesty and communication within a long term relationship). But as a responsible, loving adult? Unacceptable to me. Because my heart is not disposable. When I name a person as a close friend, I don’t let go. I am fierce in the ways that I love and support those who love me back. Until it seems there’s nothing left to hold on to. Which is unfortunately how this friendship ended.

And though I still hold a great deal of love for this friend, I am honest enough within myself (& strong enough within my life experiences), to understand that not every person that I chose to love, will stay with me for the rest of my life. Because sometimes friends, as well as lovers, are only meant to walk with you for a season or two. Both a sad yet somehow beautiful experience. One that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

So in light of this sad occasion, I did what I always do to bring a little bit of sunshine back into my heart. I created a new recipe, with my favorite dessert flavor: lemon, combined with the comfort of ice cream, and the joy of cake. My Lemon Ice Cream Cake! Created with the many friends & loved ones of mine in mind. This is for you.

For the Lemon Cake:

3-1/2 cups cake flour

pinch of kosher salt

4 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

9 large eggs

Firstly, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Butter two 9 inch loaf pans. Sift the flour with the salt into a large bowl. Set aside.

On a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar, on high speed, until combined and fluffy. Scrape down the the bottom and both sides of the bowl. Add in the lemon juice.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat together the 9 eggs. Now add the beaten eggs into the mixing bowl in 3 additions, at low speed, until throughly combined. Now add in the flour mixture, in 3 additions, until the complete batter is just incorporated. The cake batter will be thick and fragrant.

Divide and pour the cake batter into each of the two loaf pans. Pop the two pans into the oven and let bake for 55-60 minutes, until the edges of the cake are slightly brown.

Let the two cakes cool on a wire rack, at room temperature for a least 30 minutes before gently extracting them from each pan.

Now on to the fun and messy part!

With a large serrated knife, cut each loaf in half, so that there are two flat pieces of each cake. Layer each loaf pan with a large piece of saran wrap, so that there are two flaps of saran wrap hanging over the sides of each pan (like wings). Place the first layer of the cut cake on the bottom of each pan.

Grab your favorite vanilla ice cream out of the freezer, and scoop out two to three large globs of ice cream onto the two bottom cake layers. With a knife, smooth out the ice cream until it becomes a uniform flat layer.

Now, add on the top piece of the lemon cake, gently pressing the top cake into the layer of ice cream. Scoop out another two to large globs of ice cream, and (again) spread out the ice cream onto the top piece of the lemon cake. AND sprinkle with semi-sweet chocolate chips. Or layer with fresh cut berries, such as sliced strawberries and blueberries! Once you’re happy with adding on your favorite toppings, take the side hangings of the saran wrap and tightly wrap up each ice cream cake.

Deposit each of the two lemon cakes into the freezer for at least 1 hour before serving!

*Please note: when serving up each ice cream cake, use a large serrated knife, that has been dipped beforehand in hot water, to cut up each piece of cake.

Just know that these lovely little cakes will melt fast! Though perhaps not as quickly as they are consumed!

Happy National Ice Cream Day! Summer Ice Cream Round Up: 2015!

“You scream, I scream, we ALL scream for Ice Cream!”

It’s muggy and icky warm today, here in sunny California and ironically, the PERFECT setting to indulge in America’s favorite dessert: ice cream! And since I (unfortunately) won’t be back up and baking up anything new until early September, I’m determined to become the Mistress of Ice Cream. Which will (hopefully) result in epic brownie points from my Daughter and Husband. Which is the BEST reason of all for this massive Summer Round Up of Ice Cream loveliness!

So to kick off my first Round Up Series on the blog, I’m delighted to be sharing a few of the most delightfully, cool-tastic Ice Cream recipes! From blogger friends near and wide! Who know EXACTLY the right way to beat this summer heat!

Who’s ready for Ice Cream?

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First up in my Summer Ice Cream Round Up, is this GLORIOUS Frozen Banana Split Cake from one of my Mommy blogger friends at Dinner at the Zoo! Even though I’m not personally a huge fan of bananas, here’s what I LOVE about this cake, besides how pretty it is: not only does it incorporate 3 (yes, THREE ice cream flavors) within these 4 perfect layers of banana cake but it also has sprinkles! Sprinkles, my friends! I doubt there’s a soul alive who doesn’t like a good sprinkle garnish! So RUN, yes, RUN to the grocery store to stock up on these 3  ice cream flavors! This cake is all you need for show stopping, ice cream bliss! Thank you, Dinner at the Zoo, for this beautiful, summer masterpiece!

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This 2nd featured recipe, Pinwheel Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches, is by another of my Mommy blogger friends, at Mama Harris’ Kitchen! And oh my sweetness, this ice cream sandwich looks to die for! I love, LOVE ice cream sandwiches (though I’ve never attempted to create one of my own), and could quite possibly indulge in them every single day. Which unfortunately, would not agree with my Menopausal lifestyle right now. Not one bit. However, THIS tantalizing little sandwich has everything I like most about kitchen wizardry: homemade cookies with chocolate AND sprinkles, as well as the most creative ice cream flavor combination from Baskin-Robbins, that I’ve ever heard of. Potato Chips? Pretzels? Caramel? Yes, please! So really, what are you waiting for? There’s no way you can wrong with cookies and ice cream!

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Who’s ready for ice cream and CANDY? Yes, I did just say candy! Mama Harris’ Kitchen ALSO has another sweet summer treat, Zours Candy Ice Cream! Incorporating one of my husband’s favorite movie theater indulgences, Mike and Ike’s Candies! Which he buys nearly EVERY time we’re able to spend some quality time at the local theater. And considering how quick and easy this recipe is to create, it’s very likely that this ice cream recipe will undoubtably become my husband’s best friend this summer. So much thanks, Mama Harris, for this perfect family treat!

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Now THIS Thin Mint Cookie and Coffee Dairy-Free Ice Cream from Urban Bliss Life, is ALL for me! Must I even explain why?? Coffee, my friends. Coffee. With cookies. The perfect companion to my semi-regualr book reading Sunday afternoons. Hot coffee is not always a good idea for warm summer days with a side of hot flashes. A favorite morning obsession of mine that is generally frowned upon in my family (out of love, though, rather than criticism). So this homemade coffee ice cream should be very happily received from now on. Sundays or not. Thank you, Urban Bliss Life, for this delicious ice cream recipe! You’ve officially saved my Sundays!

Breakfast Popsicles

Last up in my Summer Ice Cream Round up? These delectable looking Breakfast Popsicles from Working Mom Magic! Being a working mom myself (with two of my own weekend businesses), I truly appreciate fast, easy breakfast ideas for my 2-1/2 year old Daughter. And this Breakfast Popscicle, with all of it’s Honey Bunches of Oats cereal, fresh fruit, and yogurt GOODNESS, is right up my alley! Because what busy Mom (working or not) doesn’t want something healthy AND yummy for their ever blossoming kiddos? I, for one, cannot wait to try my hand at this kid-tastic recipe! Tonight, perhaps! From the kitchen of this Mama to yours, many thanks to Working Mom Magic, for this much needed post!

See anything from these featured recipe posts that you like? Which one will you be whipping up tonight?

Happy National Ice Cream Day, my friends! Hope you’re keeping it cool!

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