My peanut butter birthday cake. 

I never had that freakout you’re supposed to have at 30. So many exciting things were happening in my life at that time — getting married, moving to California, turning my focus to the business — that it didn’t seem like there was anything to worry about. I felt the same at 31 and 32. But this birthday feels a little different.

I’m sure it’s the becoming-a-parent thing. But it really gives you this sense of closing one door and opening another. Like I’m finally accepting that one era of my life is over and I will never have it again. You certainly are never the same once you have kids. And that’s a good thing, but there is definitely some mourning for all the good things about being young(er) and carefree.

In the past year I’ve put my body through hell physically, so there’s also a bit of the ‘it ain’t what it used to be’ going on there. I’m so impressed with my body for being able to grow a human, but all the stretching and weight gain/loss and sleepless nights take their toll. I’m not saying I feel old. I just feel different. I think I have to figure out who I am in this new identity. Because although I’ve always wanted to be a mom, I’m so many things I never thought I would be — a business owner, a Californian, a person who is very far outside of her comfort zone. Maybe that’s what 33 will be. Finding out who I am now that I’ve opened that other door and stepped on through.

Vanilla bean ice cream

I fiddled with the recipe for vanilla mint chip ice cream to come up with a simple vanilla bean ice cream that would be perfect for any occasion when you want to top some fabulous dessert with a scoop of vanilla. I love that the recipe uses honey for the sugar and that it’s so simple to make. But I don’t love the fact that the eggs aren’t cooked at all. So I sort of combined the recipe with the technique from the Bi-Rite ice creams I’ve made in the past — this will allow you to temper the eggs before you put the mixture into the ice cream maker. The result was just what I was hoping for — thick, creamy, and studded with flecks of vanilla bean. 

I’m sorry I don’t have photos of the process, but I will add them to this post in the future if I get some taken. 

Vanilla bean ice cream
A simple vanilla ice cream for all occasions. Makes 1 quart.
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  1. 3 cups heavy cream
  2. 1 cup whole milk
  3. 1/2 cup honey
  4. Scrapings from 1 vanilla bean
  5. 2 egg yolks
  1. Whisk the cream and milk together in a saucepan set over medium-low heat. When the mixture begins to bubble ever so slightly at the edges of the pan, stir in the honey until it dissolves. Then whisk in the vanilla bean scrapings.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Carefully scoop out 1/2 cup of the milk/cream and very slowly pour it into the bowl of egg yolks, whisking the whole time. Repeat with another 1/2 cup of milk/cream.
  3. Now slowly pour the egg yolk mixture back into the heated pan, whisking as you pour. Continue cooking the mixture until it thickens slightly, maybe 2 more minutes. It should coat a spatula.
  4. Remove the mixture from the heat. Pour it over a fine mesh strainer into a big bowl. This will remove any bits of egg that tried to scramble.
  5. Let the mixture cool down before you cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  6. When the ice cream is nice and cold, pour the mix into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Mine took about 25 minutes.
  1. If your ice cream seems like it still has some lumps after you cooled it in the fridge, go ahead and put it through the strainer one more time.
Adapted from Nourished Kitchen
Adapted from Nourished Kitchen
Cara Corey http://www.caracorey.com/

Roasted brussels sprouts

Recently I discovered that I love roasted brussels sprouts. The first few times I tasted a brussels sprout I really didn’t like them. Like, so bad I spit it out. And that’s kind of strange because I really like cabbage. But I guess those experiences made me rule out liking brussels sprouts. 

But in the last few years they’ve really made a comeback. I see them all over cooking store catalogs and foodie blogs. So I decided to try making them myself. I used this recipe from Real Simple, and lo and behold, I loved it! 

Roasting the brussels sprouts really deepens the flavor, and you get little crackly caramelized leaves here and there. Plus, there’s a kick of spice from the jalapeno, and the dip in honey at the end gives the sprouts sweetness and a little extra moisture. 

I’ve made these a few times now, and I found that if I strayed from the recipe (used more sprouts, subbed sweet peppers for jalapenos) they weren’t as good. The only thing I left out for good was the ginger because it’s not my favorite thing. But I’ll definitely be keeping this recipe in my book and using it when brussels sprouts are in season. It was so fun to buy one of those stalks full of cute little sprouts! (FYI, one of those provides enough for 2 batches).