Chocolate Pudding Tart with Coconut Whipped Cream

This is the time of year that as a stay at home mom I think I should probably go into a new profession. I’m weary and burnt out on “mothering”. No wonder the kids can’t wait for dad to get home. We are nearing the end of this marathon called summer and I’m limping to the finish line.

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Where do I go to rejuvenate? The kitchen, of course. I’ve been baking pie, cookies and now a chocolate pudding tart. This tart crust was baked and kept frozen for a rainy  (or especially loooong day). I wasn’t sure what I was going to make with it until this week. I decided to keep it simple with a chocolate pudding filling. I made the pudding recipe from Tyler Florence and then, after chilling it, mixed in some heavy whipping cream and a little coconut milk that had been slightly whipped. Poured it into the tart pan, topped with fine coconut and served it to some hungry little boys. And you know what? I’m ready for another day.

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Stay strong moms and dads! School will start again soon and after a month or so, the longing for summer days will come again.

Happy Friday Everyone!

Friday Reflections – June 30

I know most of you have been on summer break for weeks now, but we just started ours and it has been so nice! I’m always a bit nervous before summer starts but we are having a great time so far.  Fingers crossed it continues.

I hope you all enjoy the long weekend with family and friends and of course some tasty food to go along with it.

Cheers!

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Pretty blue sky for the last day of school.
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Summer’s sandwich
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Nevada is a great place to dry off from Field Day.
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I just never get tired of roses. Ever.
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Car Show was a hit, especially the police cars and fire trucks.
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Bring out the crafts – its summer!

Friday Reflections – June 16

I hope the week treated you all well! I am finishing out this week with some thoughts on the huge role that my husband fills in our family. I am so darn thankful and I hope that Father’s Day isn’t the only day he knows it.

Besides having the job, Mike keeps our family moving forward in the right direction. He takes care of each of us in different ways and makes sure that we stay close throughout all the soccer practices and school projects. He makes us laugh and gets out the chips when we are all getting too serious. He plans the vacations, manages the finances and keeps the lawn mowed. It really is incredible. He handles the bedtime routine (thank goodness!) and takes time every evening with each child. Have I mentioned that he gets up and makes the coffee every morning? Angelic.

But I fear I don’t say it enough, how much I appreciate his tenderness and strength, his presence in all the big and small things that go into building a family.

My husband and I each grew up in a home with a loving, engaged father and I am so glad that our children are getting the same.

Below are a few pictures from the last couple weeks. Cheers!

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My favorite three boys at the Natural History Museum of LA back in February.
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Bake sale goodies!
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This local theater lets you bring beer into the auditorium and sells gigantic cookies.
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I’ve been in a pizza rut but this new rolling pin helps.
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Scored one with the 7 year old soccer team.

 

Friday Reflections – June 2

I wanted to post some of my favorite pictures from the last couple of weeks. May is here and gone and boy what a wonderful month it was. Cheers to June (and Friday!)

Enjoy!

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The Cookbook in all its glory.
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The minimalist dishwasher
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Celebrating dad’s birthday with sprinkles galore.
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This one finally likes swimming lessons!
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Why yes I’ll help you finish those nachos. Go Sounders!
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The closest thing we get to a family picture. Also, that toothless grin kills me every time I see it.
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A well loved recipe for mom’s sugar cookies.
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A glorious morning spent painting flowers, drinking mimosas and celebrating a friend.
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Hoping this little guy grows and grows and grows.

Berry Coconut Freezer Pops

Here we are at the tail end of the school year and I can tell you that I have been learning a lot lately. Take this week for example: I learned not to skip adding the potatoes to the skillet when roasting a chicken because the oven will become a grease covered, smoky mess. Coincidentally, I also learned how to clean my oven (steam cycle!) I learned that you can only say “yes” so many times before you have to say “no” to keep your sanity in check. Also, it is much harder to say “no” after initially saying “yes”. So hard! I’m also learning how to stand, which sounds even crazier than the first two, but while at a Pilates class, the instructor reminded us all to stand equally on both feet and not to lock our knees (room for air between the joints). This is called “active standing”. Locking the knees is called “passive standing” and I realized that I stand that way all the time. No wonder my hip joints and back hurt. So yes – I am learning how to stand. Lastly, I am learning how to create meals using what I have on hand and this is the most exciting of all the lessons. School is in session!

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I started volunteering at a cooking school down the street from us and one of the classes was called “Cooking by the Seat of your Pants” by Becky Selengut. I have basically talked about this class nonstop since that night. It was was one of those aha moments. She talked about how to taste food a

nd the different ingredients needed to make balanced food, which is the most satisfying. The food made in class contained ingredients she had on hand and she didn’t use any recipes. This is my dream way to cook.

When I started out cooking a few years ago, I didn’t know how to roast a vegetable and had to Google search EVERYTHING. I didn’t know how to cook a pork chop or what tarragon tasted like. I can’t even tell you how many times the smoke alarm went off while I was cooking. So, I’ve spent the majority of my energy on learning how to cook and keeping the seasonings to salt, pepper and olive oil. I also use recipes religiously. But after listening to Becky and hearing the different ingredients needed to create all these different flavors, I realized that I had all of them sitting in my cupboards. What I don’t have is the experience to put them together in satisfying interesting ways…..yet.

Which brings me to the other thing that I learned from Becky. Curry is one of those dishes that you can make using a variety of leftover vegetables and proteins. According to Becky, coconut milk and curry paste will be your best friend on a busy Wednesday night. Well, I have a real soft spot for curry and now seem to not be able to go a week without whipping up a pot. This week I didn’t use the whole can of coconut milk (another lesson I learned – don’t skimp on the coconut milk!) but no matter – I had another concoction in mind for the remaining.

Unlike curry, popsicles are one of the foods I have made quite often. chocolate pops,  smoothie pops, vanilla pudding pops – pretty much any recipe I see. We have had blue skies and sunshine this last week and I had my first after school request for a popsicle. I basically ran into the kitchen to comply and I encourage you to do the same. The coconut milk is sweet, smooth and creamy and the berries add that tart contrast that is irresistible.

Berry Coconut Freezer Pops

This recipe is so quick and versatile! Feel free to substitute any combination of frozen or fresh berries.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups organic strawberries, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups organic blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (plus 2 tablespoons for coconut milk if layering popsicles)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk

Directions:

This recipe made 8 popsicles. Fill each mold half full of coconut milk and set aside. Combine berries, water, sugar and lemon zest in a small saucepan. Warm on medium-low, stirring and crushing fruit occasionally. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer for a couple of minutes. I used a potato masher to really smooth out the fruit but you could keep the chunks. Pour mixture into a glass measuring cup and gently pour over the coconut milk to fill the molds the rest of the way.  Take a knife and gently swirl the two flavors together. Freeze for an hour and then add popsicle sticks. Continue freezing until firm (3-4 hours more). Enjoy!

Directions for layered popsicle:

In a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of sugar to the coconut milk and stir to combine. Divide equally among the popsicle molds. Continue as above. Omit swirling with knife.