Ingredient: vanilla extract

Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (no churn!)

Hey! You didn’t think I gave up on this, did you? I just had to take a long hiatus because life. Namely, this is literally the first weekend since March or April where I haven’t had some kind of plans (actually Ryan is out of the state for a few days but I have no social obligations). Our paper calendar is filled with black ink. We’ve had weddings, showers, holidays, work trips. I also stopped pumping, which was when I did most of my writing. Now that I don’t have to be tied to a machine during my 30 minute break and it’s over 25 degrees outside, I like to walk during lunch. And I’m also running more (kind of goes along with the warmer weather and not being pregnant or breastfeeding for the first time in over four years), which on top of everything else leaves me with virtually no free time. If you want to know what it sounds like when I keep my kids out running past 6pm, here’s mile 7 of 8 the other day: IMG_4146

But the real reason I’m back at this exact moment is because I am currently eating the best bowl of ice cream I have ever had. With Ryan out of town I decided to use my free time to strip the diapers (for the first time ever), wash the floors, and whip up some frozen dairy (YOLO). If you know me, you know ice cream is my weakness. I have an ice cream maker and I usually use it a few times a year. One of the best things about making ice cream is that if you can dream up a flavor, you can make it.

When I was in Denver I made a blueberry cheesecake ice cream recipe from the book that came with my ice cream maker, and since then most of the blends I’ve made have had some sort of a cheesecake base. A few weeks ago I came across a much simpler recipe than I normally use, and tonight I perfected it. Bonus: you don’t actually need an ice cream maker for this one.

During the summer I always end up with a bunch of berries we can’t manage to eat, and it’s easy to throw them in some cheesecake ice cream. I usually boil them down with some sugar first but this time I just threw the raspberries in and it was perfect.

Can I also just mention that I made an incredibly delicious, easy dinner before eating this and no one complained or refused to eat part of it? Lily actually asked for seconds. I’m not sure she’s ever asked for more of non-pasta entree. I practically ran to the kitchen when she said, “Can I please have another pita?” (I didn’t clarify for her the fact that it was actually a bean and cheese quesadilla, because she’s just started eating combo foods). For mine I just did sauteed Swiss chard, black beans I didn’t have time to heat up, queso fresco, and corn tortillas. Keeping it simple these days.

Anyway, go and make this ice cream now. You can switch up the berries and cookies (I actually usually use gluten-free gingersnaps) and add some hot fudge (you know I did), and eat it after the kids are in bed like I do because I don’t share my ice cream with anyone.

A pic of Maggie because she’s cute. Comments on my birth plan for her coming up next!


Print Recipe
Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
I used an ice cream maker, but you don't really need one. You could whip the cream for a minute before adding in the other ingredients if you don't have an ice cream maker and want it to be airy.
Course Dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until combined. Add the milk, cream, and vanilla and beat until well combined. It's okay if a few chunks remain--they'll just taste like cheesecake (which no one can complain about).
  2. Add the mixture to your ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturers instructions.
  3. Meanwhile, add the melted butter to the crushed graham crackers. When the ice cream mixture is finished, add to a freezer-safe tupperware container. add the raspberries and graham cracker recipe and gently fold in.
  4. The ice cream will be really soft, so put in the freezer for a few hours before serving.
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Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes

Do you have a favorite kids’ movie? There are plenty of kids shows and movies I can’t stand. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse ranks #1 on that list. Lily was probably 18 months old when she started watching this incessantly. I considered Little Einsteins, with its plot lines and dash of cultural exposure in the form of classical music and sometimes discordant art choices, a refreshing change from MMC’s vapid characters and gender stereotypes. Also, you can’t even spell “Mickey Mouse” instead of saying it in front of your kids because it’s in the theme song.

Before Sunday morning there were only three children’s movies/shows I actually enjoyed watching: The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child, and Room on the Broom. I’ve even let Lily watch all three in sequence because I wanted to watch all three. Anyway, Sunday morning Lily woke up at 5:45am. Usually she’ll just stay in her room reading or go back there after using the bathroom until I say she can get up. This morning she was complaining her stomach hurt and she didn’t eat either snack I brought her in bed so I knew it was real. We went downstairs and I asked if she wanted to finish watching The Snowy Day which we’d started last night. I’d sort of tricked her into watching a show of my choosing by coercing her with a new app because I couldn’t deal with 15 minutes of Paw Patrol. Anyway, I set her up with the iPad and covered my head with a blanket in an attempt to fall back asleep. It wasn’t long before I discovered it was another Gruffalo’s Child and I couldn’t stop sneaking peeks. It was a snowy day out here in WNY and those snowman pancakes looked so darn cute so…this happened:

Snowman pancake
Snowman pancake

I enjoyed making these pancakes way more than Lily enjoyed eating them. Pretty sure she didn’t appreciate the connection to the movie. This is the second time in my life I’ve made something cute out of food, and the second time Lily didn’t quite get it. Last time it was flag toast on the 4th of July. She doesn’t even know what a flag is.

I love Sally’s Baking Addiction for everything baked-goods. When I Pinterested “whole wheat oatmeal pancakes” and saw this recipe pinned, I knew it would be good. I never think twice about baking something from her site because it always comes out well. Thanks Sally’s Baking Addiction!

I always try to have pancakes in the freezer because they are so easy to pop in the microwave and serve up. This recipe is packed with whole grains, and the Greek yogurt provides some protein. I actually cut the sugar down so I wouldn’t feel so bad about feeding them to Maggie, and no one noticed the difference. You could cut it out completely, but just make sure to replace it with a little bit of something dry like ground flax.

PS: Do you have an electric griddle? You can get a good one for under $30 and it is so worth being able to quickly cook pancakes and French toast in big batches. Also, if you’re like me and burn everything, it’s well worth the investment.

Print Recipe
Whole Wheat Oatmeal Muffins
Course Breakfast
Servings
Pancakes
Ingredients
Course Breakfast
Servings
Pancakes
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Toss flour, oats, salt, baking powder, and spices together. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and milk together. Add sugar and yogurt and whisk until no lumps remain, then add vanilla and mix until well combined.
  2. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Don't overmix or beat! Fold in add-ins until just combined.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Generously coat with cooking spray. Add batter and flip after bubbles start to appear. Make sure to re-coat pan before adding more batter, or if you're like me and burn everything, use an electric griddle.
  4. Serve with powdered sugar, maple syrup, or your preferred toppings. These freeze great!
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Lactation Cookies

  1. Ladies, it has been an exhausting few weeks.

While I’ve been sticking to a 42.5 hour work week, Ryan has been putting in some really long hours. He’s been getting home after 8 three days a week and then working from home in the evening, and has also been working several hours every Saturday, and sometimes a few hours on Sunday. I’m an exempt employee, so working more hours doesn’t translate to more pay. Ryan, on the other hand, is self-employed and technically a business owner, so the more he works, the more he makes. When you have 2 kids, student loans (all mine), a mortgage, a garage door and hot water heater that need to be replaced, and five weddings coming up, that ends up translating to a lot more hours worked.

Maggie is still waking up to nurse three times a night. I fell asleep in the rocker while feeding her twice the other night. We’ve sort of tried to sleep train her, but she also keeps getting sick, and when she’s not sick she’s teething, so it’s been a nightmare. She also doesn’t respond well to us going in at increased time intervals–she doesn’t calm down at all in between, and we’re too exhausted to listen to her crying for an hour. Last night, I slept in the basement after 2:58am because I can’t sleep through her crying.

Maggie of course isn’t the only one who’s been sick. Ryan has been since Christmas, and ended up with strep. He can’t seem to kick whatever he has. I used to stay late at work sometimes and put in a few hours on the weekend, but I’ve gotten to a point where 1) I want to spend that time with my kids and 2) I don’t have time because laundry/grocery shopping/cleaning/meal prep/etc.

Lily has been battling cold after cold and a nasty cough since before her birthday that also have her up at night, and I ended up in urgent care with her last Friday night. She officially has “reactive airways” (asthma, but they don’t call it that until age 4), so is now on treatments for that which make her super wound up and aggressive. I’ll do a post on RSV and her respiratory issues at another time, but let me just say she is a trooper. With her and Maggie waking up through the night though, and both of them only wanting me, I. am. EXHAUSTED.

I was craving cookies last week, and decided I needed to do some baking before I went broke buying one every other day, or Lily started wondering where all her animal crackers were going. Turned out I was getting my period, which meant not only cravings, but a plummet in my milk supply. I see a direct correlation between my sleep and my milk supply, and at this point I was only producing 7 or 8 oz. while I was at work.

I had tried making lactation cookies when Maggie was a month or two old, but they didn’t do anything for me. They were SO delicious though (read: my husband wouldn’t stop eating them until I told him how expensive the ingredients were), and I had all these lactogenic ingredients lying around, so I figured if I was going to make cookies I may as well make them with a purpose.

The boob-juice inducing ingredients.

And guess what? They worked! For the first time in weeks I was able to pump enough milk that I didn’t have to supplement with formula. We finished them in just a few days, so I’m going to make some more this week (and hide them so no one else can eat them).

I used the same recipe that didn’t originally work for me, which I had originally chosen for its trifecta of lactogenic ingredients (maybe quadfecta? oats, brewers yeast, fenugreek, and flax seed). I don’t know about you, but when I make cookies I always double the recipe because who has time for 18 cookies. This recipe is already doubled! Extra bonus: the dough smells and tastes pretty unappetizing, so no little hands trying to sneak a taste while you’re whipping them up.

The only dough you’ll never be tempted to eat.

These are pretty hearty and they freeze really well, so I just microwave them for 30 seconds when I want one. So tasty all warmed up. I hope they work as well for you as they did for me!

I’m not the only one who makes giant cookies so I don’t have to feel bad about eating three, right?

Print Recipe
Lactation Cookies
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix flaxseed meal and water; set aside.
  3. Stir together flour, brewers yeast, salt, baking soda, and fenugreek. Set aside. (this is the stinky stuff)
  4. In a standing mixer or bowl, beat butter, coconut oil, and sugars until well-combined. Blend in eggs. Add flaxseed mixture and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  5. Add dry mixture. Mix until just combined. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
  6. Scoop 2 Tbsp dough (eh, mine were 1/4 cup) onto baking sheet, an inch apart.
  7. Bake for 10-13 minutes (if they're big like mine), or until matte on top.
  8. After they're cooled, store in a freezer bag in the freezer. Microwave 30 seconds before enjoying!
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