Embrace the Camera

Recently I’ve seen a lot of bloggers posting about “Embracing the Camera.” The purpose of this movement is for moms, who are generally behind the camera in most family photos, to start taking the initiative to be in more photos with their children. This has something that’s been bugging me a lot lately when I upload my photos from holidays and family gatherings and realize that there are absolutely no pictures of me. Not that I particularly love looking at pictures of myself, but I would like to have a permanent recording of the fact that I was actually there for all these events! When I’m gone I want my kids to look at our family pictures and see me, remember me, and remember all the little moments we had together.

Embracing the camera isn’t about setting up elaborate photo sessions where you get someone else to take stiff and posed photos of you with your kids. It’s simply about finding little ways to include yourself in the photos you already take. Turn the camera around every once in awhile and grab your kid for an impromptu cuddle picture. Set the self timer during one of the many every day moments you share. It’s not about perfection, it’s just about seeing you and your children together. And more importantly, them being able to see you together when they look at these pictures later in life. My kids are still young and they’re not going to remember these moments. But they will hopefully see these pictures and realize I loved them and we had a lot of fun together.

These pictures were a little dangerous. It’s probably not that safe to swing holding your squirming kid in one hand and your dslr pointed the wrong way in your other hand. Amazingly, nothing (or no one) was dropped.

Okay, I’m not in this at all. But I love Shepard’s little hands!

He’s been holding my hand a lot lately. He’s cooperating a lot earlier than Caden did with holding my hand walking on the sidewalk or in parking lots. At the park he wanted to hold hands while he walked on the wooden edging around the playground.

We were relaxing on the bench for awhile, watching Caden chase kids all over the place.

Back at home trying to get some pictures with Caden now. He has such gigantic eyes.

Caden liked this embracing the camera idea. Whereas after Shepard’s baptism when I really wanted him in pictures and he refused, yesterday he kept saying “more things!” to try and come up with other ideas of ways we could be in it together.

Caden and I have exactly the same super wide stubby toed feet.

Shepard was intrigued by this idea and had to stick his feet in too.

Trying to get in on this picture too. Even though he’s totally cut off, this is one of my favorites. πŸ™‚

Pictures like this are much more easily done with a point and shoot! My arms aren’t long enough to get us both in!

That’s better!

This is a fun one too.

Okay, only my leg is in this picture… But I love how Caden’s feet and hand look!

I wanted to try and get an everyday moment kind of picture too with Caden helping me wrap some presents. It’s harder taking the pictures with a self timer. I like the smiley giant face ones better.

Anyway, it was fun spending my day trying to get some fun and happy pictures of me and my boys. I’m going to try doing things like this a lot more often!

Shepard’s Baptism

Yesterday was Shepard’s baptism! This will be a mostly photo post since there’s not a whole lot to say beside he was baptized, we ate lunch, he got some presents!

Caden was very curious about the holy water.

Shepard was just confused.

I really thought he’d cry, but he did great. It helped that Aunt Melissa got to hold him the whole time.

I wanted to get some nice pictures afterward like we did with Caden’s baptism, but Caden was being pretty naughty and wouldn’t be in any. Everyone was so rushed we didn’t get any grandparent or big family pictures either. πŸ™

Shepard was really tired and the day has barely begun!

With the godparents.

Cookie break.

Caden decided to cooperate when the presents came out!

Balls are his favorite!

Uncle Tyler gave him a really cool Bible with his name imprinted on it. Looking back at these pictures I realize Shepard really wasn’t his happy, laughing self. Not a lot of smiles. πŸ™

He’s such a cutie. Gonna be a heartbreaker!

Greg decided to dress himself at Shepard’s twin. Cute!

Second attempt at a family picture. Caden still wasn’t being especially cooperative, but we got some decent ones.

I like this one!

With Aunt/Godmother Melissa.

Happy baptism! It was really nice of everyone who shared the day with us!

Take the Time

You never know how much time you’re going to have on this earth. It’s a truth we all know, but not something we spend a lot of time thinking about. Dwelling on death is depressing and probably not very healthy. But dwelling on life? I think that’s something we could all do a little more of.

I’ve been thinking about loss a lot this week. A few days ago the girl who we used to mentor’s father had a massive heart attack and eventually passed away. The news was shocking. He was way too young and left behind five children who will never be able to make another memory with him.

In January of this year I lost an uncle, also way too young to leave the people who loved him. A friend of mine lost her third baby, more than halfway through the pregnancy. In the last few years I’ve lost my remaining grandparents and half of Greg’s. We are surrounded by loss and death on a daily basis and it hurts. So much.

On Wednesday I was diagnosed with scoliosis. Far from a death sentence, but it still scared me. The combination of that and the passing of our young friend’s dad, as well as all the other loss I’ve experienced in recent years, made me really start reevaluating my own life and what I want to do with it. Especially in these long and often frustrating days at home with my boys.

I came to one major conclusion. I want to start taking the time. I want to start doing all the things I tell myself I’m going to do with my kids and then never do. I want to stop being so busy wasting time on my computer when I could be snuggling on the couch and reading books to them. I want to take the time to look Caden in the eye and listen to him when he talks no matter how many other things are begging for my attention.

Consciously taking the time to do these things is definitely not always easy. Even today, a single day after my big conclusion, I was tired and cranky and didn’t want a whole lot to do with my very crabby and obnoxious behaving children. But that doesn’t mean I should stop trying. No, I can’t escape from my responsibilities every day of the week. But I can start making more of an effort to enjoy my life now. Enjoying my boys before they grow up and leave me to make their own lives. I can take a day every once in awhile to do something fun and different, making memories that will hopefully last a lifetime, no matter how long that may be.

For weeks now Caden has been asking to go to the zoo. I always say no because it’s too far away and a big hassle packing a lunch and finding a full day to do something like that. But yesterday I decided to surprise him with a big yes!

It was a drizzly and extremely humid day, but we quickly packed our picnic and headed to the zoo!

It was fun having a day filled with smiles and laughter rather than complaints and time outs.

I feel like I don’t say this enough – it was a really good day. I love my kids. I love spending time with them. And I want them to always love spending time with me. It is now going to be one of my biggest goals – taking the time to just be with them. Going to the zoo. Reading together. Laughing. Having conversations. I want to dwell on this life I have with them before it is too late.

Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Yesterday we finally had a warmer day and as always, it was windy. It seemed like a perfect day to try out the kite a neighbor gave us a few weeks ago. Surprisingly, it worked really well!

I’m not sure why Caden is hanging on to Shepard. But I thought the picture was kind of funny.

He made him lose a shoe. And then thought if he held it there Shepard would just step right back into it.

Trying to put it back on forcefully.

They gave up.

Back to the kite.

Shepard was really good at it!

Lots of fun father son time. One of these days I might be in some of the pictures. πŸ™‚

Adventures at Great America

On Sunday I had the opportunity to spend the day at Six Flags Great America with Greg and Caden. Greg’s company, CDW, rents out the entire place for the day for its employees. I knew that CDW had a lot of branches with a lot of employees. But I definitely wasn’t expecting the thousands of people that showed up. But the crowd situation was still so much lighter than any day during the regular season, so I can’t complain!

Greg and I aren’t really ride people, but we wanted the chance to spend the day just with Caden. I’m pretty sure that hasn’t happened since Shepard has joined our family. Caden gets lots of one on one time with grandparents and occasionally one of us, but he never gets both of us together all to himself.

This crazy high spinning thingy is the second “ride” we went on. I remember being on it once before and being terrified. It wasn’t quite so scary this time, but still made me queasy. I hate heights.

I’ve got my super tight mommy grip on Caden so he won’t suddenly decide to jump off and break through the glass wall at the top. πŸ™‚

Batman, our family’s favorite super hero.

Caden did really great on all the rides. I wasn’t sure how he’d act since he’s usually kind of a chicken about things. He was much more brave than I expected! By the end of the day he was even pointing out roller coasters he wanted to ride. We told him not until an aunt or uncle can come with us and take him.

We did, however, go on the kiddie roller coaster. That was scary enough for Greg and I!

The only ride we regretted was a scrambler type ride. Usually my favorite kind of ride I was excited to go on it. But without giving it much thought we had Caden sitting between us and I totally squished him. He wasn’t very thrilled with me and didn’t want either of us sitting next to him on the following few rides.

Overall, it was a very special and fun day. I’m so glad we had the chance to make some happy memories. I’m already looking forward to going back next year!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Yesterday I decided to venture out of my comfort zone and participated in the Midwest Cream Cheese Competition. I’ve heard about this competition over the past few years and have always been intrigued since cheesecakes are one of my favorite things to make. Last year was our first year back in Wisconsin so I could have easily taken part in it, but I had a new baby and didn’t really feel up to the challenge. But this year I was ready! The choice of recipe was fairly easy since my family members always request this one for get togethers. I’ve probably made this cheesecake recipe more than any other dessert. It’s pretty tasty. 

I thought to make this recipe a little better than usual I’d kick it up a notch with a homemade caramel sauce. Which is the story behind all my recent caramel posts. I decided to go with the Salted Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce which I made ahead of time of Thursday night.

I love the crust in this recipe. Most of the other cheesecakes I make are chocolate based with oreo crusts, so it always surprises me how good this graham cracker one is. You just mix 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoons of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/4 cup of melted butter.

Mix until all crumbs are moist from the butter.

Then press into a 9 inch springform pan. I used a glass to make the bottom and sides of the crust flat and even. I really wanted high sides on this cheesecake so the glass trick worked out perfectly. When the crust is ready, bake it in a 350 degree oven for ten minutes.

Next you mix three packages of cream cheese (at room temperature!) with 3/4 cup of sugar. When it looks nice and creamy add 3 eggs (also at room temperature), one at a time, beating after each egg. Then mix in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. The filling should be smooth and fluffy.

Carefully pour into crust.

This next part isn’t very exact. I poured about half of my caramel sauce over the cheesecake and then used a knife to gently swirl it into the filling. This is a lot more caramel than I usually use because I was hoping to really infuse the cheesecake base with a caramel flavor. I don’t think I was very successful, though. Next time I might just mix caramel into the filling completely to get a fuller flavor.

The design turned out so pretty I didn’t want to cover it up!

This part isn’t very exact either. First you mix about 1/2 cup of sugar with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Then core, peel, and slice between 2 and 4 apples. It’s really up to you how many apples you want. If you’re making a special design you’ll only need a certain amount. But if you want more apple flavor you can push chunks into the cheesecake as well as layering on top. I ended up using about one and a half of the larger apples and half of the smaller apple.

This is one apple’s worth.

Since this was for a competition I really wanted the top to look nice. It took me at least half an hour to get all these slices perfect. Normally I would just toss them on. It’ll taste just as good either way. πŸ™‚

Next, bake your cheesecake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes until the middle is no longer jiggly. Then turn the oven off, open the door, and let the cheesecake rest in the warm oven for an additional hour. Since Shepard was running around and I didn’t want him touching a burning oven I had to barricade him from it. Which if course made it an even bigger attraction.

This is what it looked like straight out of the oven.

I think I liked the design a lot better before it was baked!

I was unsure about when to pour the caramel on top, so I waited until Saturday morning just before we left for the competition. I was kind of disappointed in how the final product turned out in appearance. The caramel looked more like a powdered sugar glaze on top of the darker cheesecake. Maybe it would have been better to just use a rich store bought caramel after all.

So here’s the cheesecake! I was impressed with my efforts, but I didn’t win. πŸ™ I wish I could have gotten some pictures of my competition. There were only 24 cheesecakes entered, but some of them looked absolutely amazing. I didn’t know what to expect this year, but I’ll be a lot more prepared next year. I already have a list of ideas going! At least my family will always love this recipe!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake
Crust:
  • 1 Β½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • Β½ tsp cinnamon
  • ΒΌ cup melted butter
Filling:
  • 3 packages of cream cheese, room temperature
  • ΒΎ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • Β½ tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
Apple Topping:
  • 2-3 medium sized apples, cored and thinly sliced
  • Β½ cup sugar
  • Β½ tsp cinnamon
Salted Vanilla Caramel Sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ΒΌ cup water
  • 1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 4 tbs butter, cubed
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  1. Begin by making caramel sauce. Heat sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat until sugar is completely dissolved, stirring gently. When the sugar is dissolved, bring the heat to medium. Do not stir after this point! Let sugar mixture boil until a dark amber in color, gently shaking the pan every few minutes. Take off heat and add heavy cream and butter. If caramel solidifies put it back over low heat and stir until creamy. Add vanilla and sea salt.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter. Press into a springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
  3. In a mixing bowl combine cream cheese and sugar. Beat until well blended. Add eggs, beating after each one. Add vanilla. Pour filling into crust. Pour about half of the caramel over the filling and use a knife to gently swirl it into the batter.
  4. Mix cinnamon and sugar. Slice apples and coat in cinnamon sugar mixture. Cover cheesecake with apple slices. Sprinkle on any remaining cinnamon sugar.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes. Turn oven off, open the door, and let cheesecake stay in the oven for one additional hour. Pour remaining caramel over cheesecake and refrigerate.

What I’m Reading

I am a bookaholic. I love to read. I cannot survive without reading. My favorite thing to do on a night out by myself is to browse through bookstores. Reading is a hobby/pastime/interest that I will never, ever give up. No matter how busy I am, how tired I am, or how many other things are on my to do list, I WILL find time to read at least a few chapters of a book every single day. And because of all that I thought it might be fun to start doing some posts on what books I’m currently reading. Because I’m never reading just one book at a time. What fun would that be?

The Bible, TNIV 

I always have my Bible on my nightstand. I can’t say that I’m that great about reading it regularly, though. I go through phases where I’m really excited to look up new verses pertaining to what I’m struggling with and going through every day. And then I go through phases where I’m so exhausted that the thought of actually searching for what I need sounds like way too much work. I picked up this particular Bible a few years ago and I love it, though. It’s the Today’s New International Version (TNIV) and called True Identity. This copy is targeted for women and has tons of excerpts and stories about how certain passages can apply to your life. I highly recommend it!

Be Still and Let Your Nail Polish Dry by Andrea Boeschaar

This is the first in a series of quick devotionals for busy women. I’ve been trying really hard lately to keep up with daily devotional reading. It’s something I used to do all the time before kids and I’d like to get in the habit of it again. Especially on those rare mornings I’m actually awake before my children, it’s a great way to start the day. I’m only a couple weeks into this one and it’s just okay. The last devotional I read, God’s Heart for You by Holley Gerth was fantastic and so easy to connect with, that I find this one a little bit lacking. I guess I just prefer devotionals that are right to the point and scream out something that your heart is desperate to hear on a daily basis. It’s not always that easy to find the importance in this book.

52 Things Kids Need From a Mom by Angela Thomas

I love this book!!! I never even would have known about it except it was on a special 50% off sale at the Family Christian Bookstore a few weeks ago – and they were sold out. The title was listed and I was definitely intrigued with all the struggles I’ve been having with Caden lately. So I looked it up online and ordered it right away. I’m so glad I did! This is probably the best parenting book I have ever read. It is so positive and personal, filled with easy yet perfect ideas to show your children more love and make your home a happier place. I’m about halfway through and ready to read it again immediately. It’s that good.

Prayers and Promises for Mothers 

I think this book has been out for a long, long time, but this is the first I’ve looked at it. Just today, in fact. So I’m only a couple pages in, but can tell it’s going to be very helpful for me. The very first prayer listed was about dealing with anger and not letting it get the best of you no matter how frustrating your kids are behaving. Definitely something I needed to hear today. I’m looking forward to reading more of it.

A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

Even though I’m usually reading a pile of books at once, I almost always stick to just one fictional book. I like reading fiction a lot more, but figure I need nonfiction thrown in to better myself and my relationships. I decided to read the Game of Thrones series because I wanted to know what all the hype was about. It seems that just about everybody I know has either read the books and/or seen the tv show and I wanted to be in the loop. I found the first book kind of boring. It was really hard to get into with so many characters and descriptions and trying to figure out a complex world that I knew nothing about. I’m finding the second book much more interesting, though. Now that I have a basis of characters to go from it’s easier to understand what’s actually going on. It’s definitely not my favorite series (so far, anyway!), but it’s entertaining.

 

Pizza Picnics

In case you haven’t noticed, our family has a thing for nontraditional picnics. Pizza picnics are another thing we started doing together when Caden was a baby. I think it began when we realized that Little Caesar’s had ready made pizzas for $5. We didn’t want to drive all the way home with it so we stopped at the nearest park. And thus, another Noe family tradition began.

When we moved back to Wisconsin our tradition stopped because we had no Little Caesar’s or any other cheap pizza option. One time we gave it our best shot and drove to Pizza Hut and got the cheapest pizza we could. And then our car died. And we spent forever trying to figure out what was wrong with it. None of our family members were in town to come rescue us so we had to walk all the way home, eating cold pizza on the side of the road. Yuck. It was memorable, though.

Anyway, this week after grocery shopping we stumbled upon a really nice, quiet park. AND it was in a city with a Little Caesar’s. Don’t get me wrong, I really don’t like Little Caesar’s. But it’s pizza and it’s $5. So with nothing better going on today we decided to have our first pizza picnic since the Pizza Hut Disaster.

I didn’t actually take any pictures of the picnic since it was about 45 degrees, windy, and I had Shepard on my lap. It was a pretty rushed picnic. But the park time afterward was fun! In this picture Caden and I are sitting on a very mysterious piece of play equipment. I must be getting old because I can no longer identify about half the things in new parks these days. I apparently don’t have enough imagination to figure out what they could be for either.

Okay, I’ve seen these weird inverted slides before, but I have no idea how they’re supposed to properly be used. I’m pretty sure, though, that Greg isn’t doing it right.

And I’m about 100% sure that going down face first on your stomach isn’t the correct way either. I’m still stumped. It’s like a slide, right? But how is it possibly safe?

This alligator was Shepard’s favorite toy. He knew just what to do!

I hope they always have so much fun together. πŸ™‚

Back to our first mystery. This round thing does spin. But the “handles” aren’t very easy for kids to hang on to. Are they supposed to sit on it? Or lay? Walk? It’s also kind of at an angle making it really hard to stay on.

Shepard loves slides. If I’m not watching carefully he runs full speed and stays running until he eventually falls down. He has no fear. The complete opposite of Caden.

Again, I don’t really get how this thing works either. Maybe I need to go to a park when other kids are actually there and observe.

Pretty sure you’re not supposed to do this…

Trying to figure out the monkey bars.

Even when Shepard has no idea what’s going on, he always has to have a turn too. I don’t think he ever even touched the bars, he just let Greg swing him back and forth underneath them with a huge smile. Hilarious child.

Spinning in action.

Oops, a little too fast!

You need to have mega muscles to operate this digging toy. Definitely not made for three year olds.

And back at home Caden is trying out for a modeling gig with his new favorite dipping sauce.

And that’s a pizza picnic!

Salted Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

 
Third time is a charm, right? I think I found the ONE. The perfect caramel sauce to pair with my caramel apple cheesecake. I’m sure I could continue trying out different recipes every day for weeks on end, but this one tastes so good I think I’ll stop here. It’s good.

I decided to start with a basic caramel recipe – just sugar, water, and heavy cream. Then to make it a little more dynamic I added a couple tablespoons of butter, some high quality vanilla bean paste I found at Marshall’s a few weeks ago, and sea salt, rather than Kosher salt which I used in my batches yesterday.

I also kept the heat on low for this batch. I’m not sure that affected the quality of the caramel or just made me stand there staring at it for that much longer for no reason. Because the temperature was lower to begin with I had a lot harder time when I added the cream and butter. The caramel immediately solidified and it took me a long time (at least twenty minutes) to melt the caramel back up again.

The end result is pretty delicious, though. I liked that it was less buttery than the first batch I made yesterday, but it still had enough butter to cream up the texture. Regular vanilla could certainly be used instead of the paste, but I figured since I had it I might as well use it. Plus, I just like seeing those tiny vanilla seeds floating in my food. And sea salt is a must. I don’t know what I was thinking using regular salt yesterday. I love sea salt and use it in everything I possibly can. Yum.

Try this caramel! It is so worth your time. I was sneaking spoonfuls of it all day. And yes, I literally drank some from the pitcher when my ice cream was gone and I wasn’t ready to stop eating. Good stuff.

Salted Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbs salted butter
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp sea salt

1. In a small saucepan combine water and sugar on a low to medium heat. Stir gently until sugar is completely dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat up to medium and allow the mixture to boil. DO NOT STIR.
2. Let the sugar mixture simmer on the stove, gently shaking the pan every few minutes. Watch carefully once it starts turning into a golden color.
3. When the mixture is dark amber, take off the burner and immediately stir in butter. Then stir in heavy cream. If the caramel gets hard, put it back on the burner and continue stirring. Add vanilla paste and sea salt, stir. Strain caramel to get out any remaining chunks.

Caramel Crazy

Today was one of those days where there were so many things going on in my kitchen I could barely think straight. For starters, I had beef in the crock pot all day for French dip sandwiches. Then I was working on multiple caramel recipes, trying to find the perfect sauce to go on my caramel apple cheesecake I’m entering in a competition next weekend. And then I made a dark chocolate peanut butter ice cream to eat with the caramel sauces.

Shepard was hanging out in the kitchen with me the whole time munching on pretzel crisps. He’s such a cutie. πŸ™‚

The first caramel recipe I tried was called Divine Caramel Sauce found on one of my new favorite food blogs, Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. It was a pretty typical caramel sauce with sugar, water, butter, heavy cream, vanilla, and a bit of salt. I thought at first the sauce was way too liquidy for what I’m looking for in a cheesecake swirl and topping, but it thickened up the longer it sat.

The second recipe I tried was a Salted Caramel Sauce from a cookbook I picked up last weekend called Caramel. What really intrigued me about this recipe is that it called for mascarpone cheese instead of heavy cream. That seemed really bizarre to me, but definitely worth a shot. This one was a lot thicker, but it seemed a little less flavorful. And a teeny bit gritty.

The dark chocolate peanut butter ice cream was incredible. I got an ice cream maker for my birthday last year and have been slowly but surely trying out various recipes. I’ve had a few winners and a lot of duds. I think this one may be the best so far. I don’t think that homemade ice cream is any cheaper than store bought, but it’s so much tastier!

I decided to let Shepard go at a bowl on his own tonight. I don’t usually let him use silverware, or even ever have food that requires it, because I just don’t want to clean up the mess!

He was really loving it, though.

Despite how good they both were, I haven’t come to a caramel sauce conclusion yet. The first sauce was really good, but also thin and tasted too buttery, I think. The second sauce was more of the consistency I want, but it didn’t have enough oomph. I think I’ll try a third recipe tomorrow. And maybe a fourth. πŸ™‚

Divine Caramel Sauce

1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, cut in pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

1. In a small saucepan combine water and sugar on a low to medium heat. Stir gently until sugar is completely dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat up to medium and allow the mixture to boil. DO NOT STIR.
2. Let the sugar mixture simmer on the stove, gently shaking the pan every few minutes. Watch carefully once it starts turning into a golden color.
3. When the mixture is dark amber, take off the burner and immediately stir in butter. Then stir in heavy cream. If the caramel gets hard, put it back on the burner and continue stirring. Add vanilla and salt, stir.

Salted Butter Caramel Sauce

1/2 cup less 1 tbs sugar
2 tbs water
1/4 cup salted butter
1 heaping tbs mascarpone cheese

1. In a small saucepan combine water and sugar on a low to medium heat. Stir gently until sugar is completely dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat up to medium and allow the mixture to boil. DO NOT STIR.
2. Let the sugar mixture simmer on the stove, gently shaking the pan every few minutes. Watch carefully once it starts turning into a golden color.
3. When the mixture is dark amber, take off the burner and immediately stir in butter. Stir in mascarpone cheese.

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 egg yolks, at room temperature
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
peanut butter, or any mix-ins you desire

1. Place milk, cream, and chocolate in a small pan and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until warm, about 175 degrees.
2. Place the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined.
3. Add about 1/4 cup of the chocolate mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly. Continue adding small amounts until the egg mixture is tempered. Then add that back into the saucepan and cook until 185 degree.s
4. Let custard mixture sit out until room temperature. Then pour into a container and refrigerate at least three hours.
5. Pour mixture into your ice cream maker. In the last five minutes add in any mix-ins you want. I probably added about 1/2 cup of peanut butter, by the spoonful. It was delicious. πŸ™‚