Another Fabulous Weekend

 

Happy Monday, you guys!  How was your weekend?  I have lots of pictures to share.  I’m sleepy already, so I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking.  I did manage this weekend to go into the city (NYC) for a little bit and see some family and friends, and eat some yummy food!  Back home, the Farmers’ Market hooked me up with some great tomatoes, and last night I made some yummy s’mores before stopping at my favorite diner for chocolate cheesecake.  What’s your favorite dessert?  Did you eat anything yummy since the last time I checked in?20140825-082836-30516075.jpg20140825-082837-30517024.jpg

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Something’s in my Garden/Pizza is a Girl’s Best Friend

Hi you guys!  How is Thursday going?  I thought I’d briefly sign on and post some pictures of my garden.  Hopefully someone can help me figure out what is eating my goodies.  So far, nothing has eaten my corn or the actual eggplant that is growing, but something or someone is nibbling off my squash and zucchini leaves, as well as parts of my eggplant plant.  Also, a few of my corn stalks and squash leaves are turning brown.  Any ideas?  I also got a close up of a cutie-pie grasshopper on my lettuce.  He (or she) seemed to be enjoying the sun.

Last night I had the house to myself and managed to get in a quick workout before picking up pizza from my favorite pizza place.  We never get it because their service can be hit-or-miss, but when I’m alone it is my go-to.  You have no idea how tasty this pizza is!  I got fried eggplant and roasted red peppers, and I was in heaven!  I honestly don’t know if it’s better hot and fresh or cold the next day.

This morning I took a much needed run through town and stopped to see the new tennis courts they put in.  I absolutely hate the colors, but they seem decent overall.  I threw in some agility on-court work to my workout to mix things up a bit.  I think I forgot how much I love being on a tennis court!  The run was was a good one, even though I wore my Vibram 5 Fingers.  I haven’t worn them all summer, and I’ve forgotten how they tear up the bottom of your feet when you’re breaking them in.  I didn’t want to wimp out just because I wore the wrong shoes though, so I still ran most of the way home.  Even with the banged-up feet, it felt good to get out and run!

Any ideas as to what’s in my garden?  Have you had any good take-out lately?  Was it better when you got it or the next day?

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See how some of the stems end in nubs and the leaves in the middle are turning brown?

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Why are my stalks turning brown?

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Can you see the eggplant nubs too?

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my Grasshopper buddy

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too good

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close-up

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Isn’t the red-green too circusy? I think it looks like they got a deal on paint.

Down the Shore and Back Again

In New Jersey, one never says they’re going to the beach.  It’s always “down the shore”.  Unless of course they live down the shore or are already at the shore, in which case they go to the beach.  The surest way to spot someone from out of state is to listen to them say where they’re going for the weekend.  Personally, I like to text the acronym “dts”.  It saves time and gets the point across.  While I would never use text speak as speech, I have no problem writing dts, or telling you all about the weekend that I spent dts.

This was a particularly good weekend dts.  I got an early start on Friday and had a great ride down the Parkway.  I timed it perfectly to a Springsteen concert on XM radio, which always keeps things more entertaining.  Every day this weekend, even if it rained a little, had some phenomenal weather. 

The water dts is notoriously icky looking.  I love my home state, but it’s no secret that we don’t have the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean… we usually maintain a murky bluish-greenish.  I’ve even heard people describe things as “the color of Jersey water” in a far from aspirational tone, but this weekend the water was nothing like that.  I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen it so clear, and it was really nice to actually be able to see your feet in the water!

Most of the weekend was very relaxing.  The highlight was a Clambake for the local fire department on Saturday…I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I had three hot dogs.  And two ears of corn with the melted butter.  It was really good, and for a good cause, right?  I spared you guys pictures of the gluttony, but you can trust that it was good.

I really got in some great family time.  After years of bemoaning that I’ve never been out on it, I got to ocean kayak with my cousins.  It was awesome, even if my paddling skills are pretty remedial.  I need to practice, but I loved how close the seagulls will let you get in the ocean as compared to on the sand.  I also got out on a boogy board with some of my younger cousins.  It was hysterical!  It’s been a long time since I’ve boogy boarded and the waves weren’t quite there but it was some great bonding.

I also saw some dolphins, commuting North in the morning and South in the afternoon.  Anyone know where they live?  I can’t imaging them just chilling out in the open ocean.  I feel like they should sleep in calmer waters.  Clearly I know nothing about dolphins, aside from the one time I rode one in the Bahamas, and watching Flipper reruns on tv.

I took a few pictures of the beach every day and wanted to share.  I don’t think you can ever get enough sand, and the same stretch of beach looks so different depending on time of day and weather.

Back at home, my corn is turning yellow.  I’m kind of bumming.  I have a whole other garden post that I need to write, and I need your help figuring out what’s eating my leaves, but in the meantime, I’ll leave you with a brown corn stalk picture to ponder for me.  So many garden mysteries!

How was your weekend?  Anything exciting or out of the ordinary?  I know it’s Wednesday and I’m behind on the “Weekend Update” post, but I’d still love to hear how you’re enjoying the summer!

 

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So clear out! It doesn’t even look like New Jersey.

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somebody’s awesome sunflowers

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more gorgeousness

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questionable clouds

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time to leave the beach

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A gorgeous empty beach all to myself in the morning.

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If you look really close, you can see a dolphin. Really close. And it’s just the fin. But it’s there.

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My favorite boat, the Norma K III. I have never seen the Norma K or Norma K II. Not sure they exist.

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blimp making a turnaround

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seagull friends

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Clear ocean, clear sky.

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donuts from the bakery dts

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Lobster Mac and Cheese

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Why is my corn turning yellow?

No-Brainer Low-Fat Ice Cream Fix

Happy Saturday, you guys!  Here’s a delicious, easy, and semi-healthy ice cream recipe to get you through this summer weekend.  If you start now, you could definitely have homemade ice cream sometime this afternoon.

Since I picked up my new ice cream storage container, I have no excuses to not be making homemade ice cream all the time.  Except that I feel guilty making (and eating) full-fat ice cream when I know exactly how much cream and whole milk is in it, and simply replacing the whole milk and heavy cream with low-fat milk never tastes good.  Not surprisingly, all the creaminess is gone.

This weekend I stumbled upon a recipe that solves the watery low-fat ice cream problem, without the added fat.

Instead of using cream or low fat milk, it uses low-fat evaporated milk.  All of the extra moisture has been evaporated, and the creamy goodness is left for the ice cream!  Here’s the recipe, including my few changes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided in two
  • 2 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated low-fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla {Adjust this to taste.  Original recipe called for vanilla bean.}
  • 3 large egg-yolks

Directions:

Mix half and half, 1/4 cup sugar, and corn syrup, salt, evaporated milk and vanilla in a medium heavy-bottomed sauce pan.

Heat mixture to 180°F, or until tiny bubbles form around edge {Don’t let it boil.  Also, your meat thermometer won’t accurately judge the temp.  I know.  I tried.}

Remove your pan from the heat.  Cover, and let stand 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk your other 1/4 cup sugar and 3 egg yolks together in a medium bowl.

When the 10 minutes are up, gradually add your hot milk mixture to the egg mixture, continuing to whisk them together constantly.

Return the mixture to the heavy-bottomed pan and cook over medium heat until it reaches 160°F. {You can eye-ball this.  Again, just until little bubbles form around the edge, or even until right before the bubbles form.}

Remove from heat and transfer to a heat-proof container. {The recipe calls for putting the mixture and the pan in an ice bath for 20 minutes, which I know is to stop the cooking, but I was afraid of cracking my pan.}  One with a lid works especially well. 

When the mixture has cooled down enough to safely put in the fridge, put it in the fridge.

At this point, the recipe calls for pouring the mixture through a sieve.  I gave up on that.  For me it was too hard to negotiate the thick ice cream batter and a melting ice cream making canister, along with the physical obstruction of the ice cream canister due to the top of the mixer being in the way.  It just seemed like it was going to take too long and be too messy, so I skipped it.  And it turned out fine anyway.  So don’t feel pressured to sieve!

Freeze in your ice cream container like you normally would, and then transfer to a freezer-safe container for up to 3 hours, until it is firm.  Scoop and enjoy 🙂

What’s your favorite way to make a full-fat recipe more tight-pants-friendly?

 

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everything you’ll need, except the salt, which I eyeballed and didn’t measure out this prettily

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My go-to heavy bottomed pot. The vanilla is already giving the mixture a nice golden color.

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close-up

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Golden egg yolks in the sugar

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whisked together

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combining the milk mixture and the egg mixture

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You might need an extra set of hands to help you transfer the mixture back into your pot. I used my helper to dump it back in while I kept whisking.

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back in the pot

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ready to be chilled

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I transferred everything to a glass measuring bowl with a lid

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After going through the ice cream maker. A little goopy but delicious. This is actually the point where I ate it, because I got impatient, and it was still good.

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The finished product.

Thank You!!

Hey you guys!

Yesterday something exciting happened… my blog accumulated 2000 all-time views!

I know this may not seem like a lot of views for some of you out there, but it has been so much fun writing and sharing pictures with all of you over the past year and a half, and seeing my audience slowly grow!  It’s so special seeing these little reminders that people really do what to see what I have to share, and so I wanted to thank you and share some more. 

I know I already announced the unveiling of my twitter handle @thegirlfromnj but I now also have an instagram for the blog.  You can follow me at sophisticatedjerseygirl.  I wanted more ways to be able to interact with you guys, and now I have them.  Are you on twitter and instagram?  How can I follow you? 

I don’t have any pictures that go with this post, so enjoy this picture of the beach, because even if it is rainy and cold out, it’s still summer.  (And if you’re in the Southern hemisphere, it will be summer for you again soon!  Hang in there!)

Thanks again, guys!  I’ll keep writing, and I so appreciate that you keep reading 🙂

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looking North on the Jersey shore