Wednesday, August 27, 2014

No-Churn Fluffernutter Ice Cream-Guest Post with The Spiffy Cookie

I know I know, you thought I was done with the guest posts! But...life got a little overwhelming so my wonderful friend Erin (AKA The Spiffy Cookie) stepped up and volunteered to share a little something with you guys. I've guest posted on her site before so I'm so happy to introduce this super fun, former Buckeye (she still loves chocolate and peanut butter, though!), wonderful blogger/cook/baker to you again! And look! Erin brought ice cream! With pb! and marshmallow! HOORAY!
Hello again Cooking Actress readers! Erin here from The Spiffy Cookie giving Kayle a break from blogging while she plans for her upcoming wedding. Kayle is such a wonderful person and I couldn't be happier for her. She and Michael are the cutest! I was lucky enough to meet her in NYC last year but now that she has moved back to Ohio I really need to pay her another visit, especially since she lives in the same town as some of my other friends.
Today I am sharing a recipe for my new obsession, no-churn ice cream. This recipe is so easy and delicious it almost makes ice cream makers obsolete. All you need for the base is 1 pint of heavy cream and 1 can of sweetened condensed milk. The churning aspect of ice cream is substituted by whipping the heavy cream with an electric hand mixer. Fold in the sweetened condensed milk and any other flavor additions and it's ready for the freezer. But of course you already knew all of that since Kayle has shared an extensive list of easy no-churn ice cream flavors.

Normally the hardest part of making no-churn ice cream is deciding on a flavor. I did ponder whether or not a browned butter ice cream could be possible since Kayle is the browned butter queen but thankfully Kayle is as much of a peanut butter lover as I am which made the decision much easier. After discovering the magical results of adding marshmallow creme to no-churn ice cream I went with fluffernutter ice cream, complete with marshmallow bits and a magic peanut butter shell.

No-Churn Fluffernutter Ice Cream

Ice cream adapted from Spiffy Cookie's No-Churn S'mores Ice Cream. Shell adapted from Nutella Magic Shell.

Makes approximately 1-1/2 quarts ice cream.
Ingredients:

ICE CREAM
  • 1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 (7 oz.) container marshmallow creme
  • 1/2 cup marshmallow bits
PEANUT BUTTER MAGIC SHELL
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter (or coconut oil)
Preparation:
  • In a large, chilled bowl, whip heavy cream to stiff peaks. In a separate large bowl, mix together the sweetened condensed milk, peanut butter, and marshmallow creme.
  • Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the sweetened condensed milk mixture. Gently fold in remaining cream until fully combined. Fold in the marshmallow bits.
  • Pour ice cream into a loaf pan or freezer-safe container, wrap with plastic warp or tin foil and freeze for 6 hours or overnight.
  • When ready to serve, make the magic shell. In a small bowl, melt the butter. Whisk in the peanut butter until smooth then allow to cool for a few minutes. Drizzle over ice cream and watch it harden.

This ice cream was DEF a good call! Totally craving some now!
Thank you SO MUCH Erin! Guys, be cool, follow her.

Monday, August 25, 2014

My AMAZING Photo Guestbook-A Mixbook Review

Here is what I knew I wanted for our wedding guest book: I wanted a photo book, essentially a photo album of our beautiful engagement pictures, guest book (so that for years to come we'll still actually look at it and it won't just sit somewhere gathering dust! Plus I love when things serve dual purposes, and I am obsessed with our engagement photos so any excuse to look at them, really, I'll take.) I wanted the book to be customizable and I wanted it to be inexpensive!

MixBook was 100% perfect for this.
Mixbook is a SUPER easy and fun website where you can make completely customizable photo books, cards, and calendars (and creating and customizing is entirely free!)
When I first found Mixbook I decided to get the absolute most inexpensive option for my guest book (book on the right in the photo above)-which was the standard 8.5x8.5" soft cover (and with the 30% off offer at the time, I was able to get the entire thing-including tax and shipping-for just under $24! Pretty awesome). I would also like to note that I chose the budget shipping option and it STILL only took 5 days to get to me, and Mixbook does an awesome job of packaging so that nothing will damage the books during the shipping process. And, while the book I received was lovely and would have totally worked, it was definitely not super durable (if you touched it wrong there were fingerprints, etc. and due to it being a softcover, it was a bit flimsy) so I decided to contact the customer service department: who were UNBELIEVABLY helpful! They offered to refund me the entire price of the book I had ordered and put it back as a credit onto my account-no questions asked (and really, this was in no way their fault)! Instead I ended up having them refer me to their marketing department, who hooked me up in exchange for this review, but regardless they were extremely kind and helpful.

And then I upgraded myself to the gorgeous 12x12" hardcover you see up there on the left.
The quality...is outstanding. I was stunned by how beautiful my guest book was when it came to me.

The hardcover was lovely and seems durable. The photos are gorgeous and perfect. I'm totally head over heels in love with how amazing it turned out.

Mixbook uses archival-quality, FSC-certified papers, hand-stitched hardcovers, and incredibly detailed print reproduction: which essentially comes down to the fact that they're beautiful, the photos look how they should, and they are going to LAST. Which...ya know...for my wedding guest book...kind of important.

Yepp...click that linky...and you're there. View away. 
(Because, believe it or not, I didn't share quite all of it in the course of this blog post.)

That's another cool thing about Mixbook-you have the option to share your designs and can even invite anyone you want to edit it! So collaboration on these things is crazy easy. (But don't worry, if you're more private you can absolute set your settings to private as well, it is entirely up yo you!)
But I'm totally getting ahead of myself.

Let's rewind to how I created my guest book-and how you can create your own projects too!
For your convenience, you can begin with one of Mixbook's professional designs or start entirely from scratch!

I am so not great when it comes to designing these sorts of things from scratch, so I started out by choosing from one of Mixbook's pre-designed Wedding Guest Books. I ended up going with the Vintage Florals Guest Book design, and then began the fun: customization! 
First thing was first: pictures. Like I said, I wanted this to be part photo album for our engagement pictures, so that was definitely an important factor. Luckily Mixbook allows you to use photos from anywhere! You can import them from various photo sharing sites (such as facebook, picasa, etc.)-as well as allowing you to upload from your computer. To ensure the highest quality I uploaded the original photo files given to us by our photographer. And since I'm generally not a genius when it comes to scrapbook-y style things, I mostly went with the way the photos were already laid out in the template I chose (with just a few instances of re-sizing and rearranging-which was crazy simple to do!)
The biggest change I needed to make when customizing my guest book was the color: the template I had chosen had a blue and grey color scheme and my wedding colors are red and white. This was probably the most time consuming part BUT it was totally simple and do-able! One cool color feature that Mixbook has is their color match tool: it allows you to enter the hex code for your true wedding colors to ensure perfect continuity!
There are also so many options for "stickers" (the little embellishments you see on some of the pages, such as the hearts above and below), backgrounds, and text-you can literally customize every single little thing (and you can also search for backgrounds and stickers that are in your colors and theme). And it will take time if you choose to do this (I spent over 3 hours one morning designing it--and I LOVED IT! It completely sucks you in, and all of a sudden you look at the clock and realize how much time has passed!) 
Since my wedding colors are different from the template I chose, it took a smidgen bit of extra effort-just to edit every little thing that had the wrong color and go looking for stickers, backgrounds, etc. that would work for me. The effort was entirely worth it, though. There are no words for how proud I am of this guest book: I designed it. Nobody else has something exactly like it, and it is perfectly made for Michael and I and our wedding.
Oh and in case you're wondering--the 12x12" hardcover guest book (without any sort of discounts and including tax and standard shipping) came out to just under $70. Which-for a high quality engagement photo album + fully customized wedding guest book, is a pretty awesome dealio. 

But chances are you would never pay full price.
Mixbook frequently runs sales/discounts/promotions. And, as luck would have it, TODAY is Mixbook's birthday!! To celebrate, until 11:59 PDT tonight, you can get up to 50% off--click here for more details!

So...what are you waiting for? Discover Mixbook for yourself ASAP!

Disclaimer-this post contains affiliate links. Mixbook provided me with a complimentary book for review, however I received no additional compensation and all opinions are my own.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Something Saturdays (8/23/14)

!!! Guys....WE BOOKED OUR HONEYMOON! 
I mean...there are no words for my excitement! We went with Secrets Capri Riviera in Riviera Maya. It's an adults only, preferred club, ocean-front resort and we have an all inclusive package (seriously: flights, stay, food, drinks, activities, taxes, AND gratuities, all included!) It's a "smallish" resort (290 suites which, compared to the 4-500 of most resorts we looked at, is small) and I'm hoping it'll be quiet and relaxing and romantic <3 Mmmm. And we get to spend 7 nights (just a bit over 7 days) there!! I cannot get over it. June cannot get here fast enough!

Oh...and we also published our wedding website (plus a 2nd one because I couldn't choose just 1 :P)-feel free to give a look if you're interested!

We also did Michael's first "groom try on" for his tux-a couple things didn't fit quite right so we have another one for next week but over all-he looks good!! Pretty excited about what a handsome groom I'll have :). Later on we spent some time with his dad and stepmom (and a little bit with his brother and sister-in-law) and then we went to our first marriage prep session with our parish's priest. We learned the results of the test we had taken and found out what areas we need to discuss/work on (and how compatible we are in other ways)--we got some "homework" for that lol.

Additionally I had to get something else fixed on my car. Yippee. Michael also had his orientation day for grad school and his classes start this coming week :( This is going to be a hectic, busy, stress-filled time...I can tell. Ugh. Fingers crossed it all goes ok and is worth it! (That said he said orientation was really nice!)

...I also worked out yesterday for the first time in I don't even know how long. My brother helped me out and we went to my fitness room (finally!) It was great but...ugh...I hate it. Whyyy can't I just look perfect without effort, hmmm? :P

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