Fresh Cherry Ice Cream with Almond and Vanilla

August 11, 2016

Fresh Cherry Ice Cream with Almond and Vanilla

Oh this ice cream. I know I am currently 31 weeks pregnant with an insatiable taste for sweets but this really is some of the most delicious ice cream I have ever tasted. The best part is that it is so easy to make thanks to the Cuisinart ice cream maker I just bought AKA my new best friend. Cherries and almonds are such a good match and the hint of vanilla doesn’t hurt either. Think lusciously soft pink slightly almond-y cream studded with juicy fresh sweet cherries. My mouth is watering.

The best part is that there is no cooking or chilling to this base so you can throw it together last minute before company comes over (or while you wait for your favorite show to start) and then 20 minutes later you have the most crazy delicious fresh ice cream with zero preservatives or weird thickeners. So easy! So delicious! Make this before cherry season is over. No wait, make a triple batch because it really is that good.

Fresh Cherry Ice Cream with Almond and Vanilla


makes about 2 pints

1 pint of fresh sweet red cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups half and half

3/4 cup caster or bakers sugar

1 tablespoon really good vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

Combine cream, half and half, sugar, vanilla and almond extracts in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour into the pre-chilled base of your ice cream maker and add the chopped cherries. Churn according to manufacturers instructions for 20-25 minutes, until the ice cream is thick and creamy. If a harder consistency is desired refrigerate for 2 hours, otherwise it is ready to enjoy!

Fresh Cherry Ice Cream with Almond and Vanilla

Blueberry Jam with Lemon and Lavender

July 21, 2016

Blueberry, Lemon and Lavender Jam

July is prime blueberry time here in Portland so a few weeks ago Greta and I met some friends at a sweet family run farm on Sauvie Island to do some picking. The littles didn’t last too long but we did manage to get a couple pounds, just enough to make a batch of jam with leftovers for sprinkling on yogurt and eating straight from the basket. I love the process of making a fresh summer jam from start to finish, including harvesting the fruit and (in this case) growing the flowers myself. My lavender bushes were overflowing with blooms and while it was a bit of a fight with the bees to pick a bunch they obliged.

The first step was making a lavender infused sugar. I chose to do this because my lavender was fresh and I wanted to make sure the flowery flavor came through. Of course you could also just add some culinary grade dried lavender if you don’t grow your own. To make the sugar simply pick off the lavender blossoms and add them to a jar of measured sugar and let it sit and infuse for a day or two. Easy!

On jam making day wash and pick any stems off your berries. When making jam it is beneficial to have a few underripe berries in your bunch due to the natural pectin that will help thicken it. I prefer to make freezer jam with fresh summer fruits because I think the flavor stays a little more “true” as well as just skipping the canning step – yes I am lazy. We bought an upright freezer earlier this year (major adult moment) so I have a lot of freezer room to spare right now. If you don’t have room to freeze of course you could can this in a hot water bath! That also makes for easier gift giving around the holidays.




makes around five 8oz jars

6 cups fresh blueberries

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons lavender flowers

zest and juice from one lemon

3 tablespoons Real Fruit pectin

If you are using fresh lavender flowers, add to the sugar in an airtight jar to infuse a the night before making. Otherwise, wash and pick any stems off the blueberries. Add berries, sugar and lavender to a large pot and cook over medium heat, gently smashing the blueberries with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook down until berries thicken, about 15 minutes while stirring constantly. Take the berries off the heat and add the lemon juice juice and pectin. Stir well for 5 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Carefully pour the hot jam into sterile jars and either freeze or pressure can. Perfect on a piping hot buttermilk biscuit or spread onto thick cut toast with fromage blanc!



Summer Corn, Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Feta and Fresh Herbs

June 7, 2016

We are experiencing an unseasonably early and hot summer here in Portland with temperatures soaring above 100 degrees in June! In the past we always had to wait until the fourth of July for real summer but it seems like this warming trend is sticking around. Though triple digit weather is too hot for pale Scandinavians like me I have been enjoying the abundance of early fruits and vegetables from the farmers market. This summer corn salad is so light and flavorful and takes minutes to throw together so it’s a perfect side to bring to a barbecue or to serve alongside a simple summer grilled main. I also love the leftovers for lunch when topped with a little extra protein (grilled chicken is usually my go-to). Or you could swap the feta for avocado and make an awesome vegan salad! Perfect for those days when it’s just too hot to cook.

fresh corn salad


4 ears of corn off the cob*

1 cucumber, diced

1 cup of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half or quartered depending on size

1/4 red onion, diced

handful of mint and basil, shredded

2 teaspoons champagne vinegar

a few tablespoons of olive oil

salt to taste

4 oz feta, crumbled

In a large bowl combine the corn, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onion, mint and basil. Add the vinegar + olive oil and toss well. Season with salt to taste. Crumble the feta on top and chill before serving.

*I have found the easiest way to take corn off the cob is to hold the corn by the stalk over a bowl and scrape the kernels off with a very sharp knife.

Gluten Free Banana Blueberry Muffins

April 9, 2016

Gluten Free Banana Blueberry Muffins

A bunch of bananas had been haunting me on the counter for a week, slowly getting more and more spots. Blueberry muffins are a favorite of mine and I loved the idea of using banana to sweeten them naturally. Be sure to use very ripe bananas in this recipe so it turns out sweet enough. There is also a tiny bit of sugar so these would be considered more of a treat than a super healthy muffin. Well worth it though, they are scrumptious!


Makes 12 Muffins

1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour blend (one that contains xanthan gum)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

3 mashed very ripe bananas

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup blueberries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and line a muffin tin with 12 liners. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a smaller bowl blend together the mashed bananas, vanilla, coconut oil, sugar and eggs. Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in the blueberries and divide between the muffin cups. Bake 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and the muffins are puffed and golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving.

Gluten Free Blueberry Dutch Baby

March 12, 2016

Dutch Baby

Dutch babies are one of my favorite breakfasts to make on slow weekend mornings. They are so simple to throw together but do take a little time to make. It has been a typical grey and gloomy late winter here in Portland so some bright lemon and fresh berries were in order. I have been trying to perfect a gluten free dutch baby recipe and I think this is it! I’ve found that the secret to a light and airy dutch baby is having the eggs and milk at room temperature and getting the pan nice and hot before adding the batter. The finished pancake is puffed and golden brown with a slightly crunchy exterior and a smooth and custardy center. A sprinkle of juicy blueberries and a squeeze of lemon at the end is a delicious finishing touch!


Serves 2-3

3 tablespoons butter

3 large eggs at room temperature

2/3 cup whole milk at room temperature

1/2 cup gluten free flour blend (the kind that already contains xanthan gum)

2 tablespoons sugar

pinch of salt

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

lemon wedges and powdered sugar for serving

Preheat oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit and insert a 10″ cast iron pan to get it nice and hot. While the pan is heating whisk together the eggs and milk, then add the flour, sugar and salt and blend until very smooth. Turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees fahrenheit and throw the butter into the hot pan and let it melt until it is slightly browned. Remove the pan from the oven swirl the butter around to fully coat the bottom and sides of the pan, then pour in the batter. Sprinkle the blueberries on top and pop the pan back in the oven to bake the pancake for 25-30 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Sift with powdered sugar and serve with a squeeze of lemon.


February 17, 2016

Greta's Two

My sweet girl turned two last month and I’m just now getting around to sharing a few photos from her special day. We decided to keep things really low key this year and had a fun morning at the zoo and then cake and presents in the afternoon with family. I don’t think Greta really understood the birthday concept before but she is now pretty obsessed with the idea and exclaims “birthday party!” any time I pull out a tablecloth or when she wears a dress, it’s pretty cute.

birthday cake

The cake I made was a gluten-free white cake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Only after making it did I realize it was kind of a dead ringer for the emoji cake slice, haha. It was a great recipe and the cake turned out very moist and springy. Highly recommended if you’re looking for a simple gluten-free cake recipe!


Can’t believe how quickly two years passed and what a little kid she has become. Happy Birthday my Greta Girl!

birthday girl

Thirty Three

January 19, 2016


I turned 33 on the 15th and while that still seems pretty young to me I can’t help but reflect on how different my life is now from just a couple of years ago. So much has changed in this sliver of time and I feel like I’ve been working really hard to get here and am just starting to recognize that and am proud of the things I have accomplished. There’s still a lot more work to do of course, there always will be but I am content feeling my life is headed in a healthy and happy direction. My birthday is so close to the New Year that I always use it as the time to set intentions for what I would like to change or work on. Some of these things are leftovers from previous years and others are new and exciting. I just thought I’d write them out to have a little accountability so maybe I will actually remember to drink enough water.

Be The Change I Want – I put this one first because it is definitely the hardest for me and the most important. I have loads of supportive and awesome people in my life who I am so thankful for but I can’t expect them to make all the changes and do all the work for me, or ultimately to make me happy. That is my job to do for myself.

Make My Health a Priority – After having Greta I definitely let my health slip away from me and suffered the consequences. Before getting pregnant I was eating a pretty clean diet and exercising regularly. I let that all fall by the wayside early into the pregnancy when I could not even look at a vegetable, let alone eat one. The hatred of all things green didn’t last that long but I got in the habit of eating things I know don’t make me feel great, like alllllll the gluten and sugar. I’ve finally cut out gluten for good and am working on reducing my sugar – that seems to be the hardest because I love baking treats!

Ask For Help – This is something I have a really hard time with, being the stubborn Capricorn that I am. I went way too long without regular childcare which definitely drove me crazy. It took a long time to give myself permission to do it and not feel like a bad mom because I need time by myself. Luckily I have an amazing neighbor who runs an in-home daycare that is affordable and so convenient for us. Greta gets to go there to play with other kids two days a week for a few hours and I get to do super exciting things like laundry or organizing the basement. Really though, just having time alone is so important for me so it doesn’t matter what I am doing. Sometimes it’s just sitting in silence for a half hour and that is ok.

Drink More Water – I guess this could go into the health category but I think it is deserving of a solo spot because I am constantly putting it on my lists and never following through. This time I am for real, and to help with it I went out and purchased a water bottle for every activity and situation. I have one with a straw to keep in my car so I don’t have to unscrew a lid (which I had hilariously been trying to do for the past year). I also received a cute new tea mug and have replaced a lot of my coffee with herbal tea which is another great way to stay hydrated in the winter.

Feed My Creativity – One of the hardest parts about becoming a mom has been the loss of free time and therefor my creative projects. I have only recently realized how important it is for me to make something with my hands, something I always did but never really realized how big of an impact it had on me until I stopped doing it. I took a break from my creative self for a good year and became pretty depressed. Luckily I have since found ways to get back into it, the main mediums being knitting and sewing. I LOVE IT. I took a knitting class the fall after Greta was born and finally learned how to go beyond a scarf. I am working on my second sweater for her right now and am so proud that I can make something beautiful out of a ball of sheep fur and some sticks while watching Netflix.

Declutter – Oh man. Ok so I really don’t like to admit this but I think I might have hoarding tendencies so this one is really tough for me. I know I have way too much stuff and feel happier and calmer in a more minimalist environment. This has meant that I have pretty much had to stop going to thrift stores all together which really pains me but I just can’t say no to all the treasures! They are like sad little cast off friends begging for a home and I want to take them all in. Aside from trying to reduce the amount of stuff I am bringing into the house I have been really working to let go of a lot of the things I already have. It mostly feels good which is encouraging but I am so sentimental I know I could never even be in the same room as Marie Kondo. Oh well, working on it!

Go Somewhere – I really need a vacation! Like a fun one where I go on a plane by myself and it is actually relaxing. I fantasize about being in a hotel room all alone with a big white bed and room service. Maybe I will go by myself or maybe with a friend, it will probably only be for a weekend but it will be AMAZING.

Stop Feeling Guilty – This is another thing I have struggled with my whole life and am working so hard to overcome. I was born a worrier and most of the worry comes from feelings of guilt. I said the wrong thing, wasn’t present enough for my daughter, bought the wrong kind of soap. The range is from reasonable to completely ridiculous but I have to learn to let it go.

Garden More – Feeding off of my last post, I have found such pleasure in gardening and really hope to keep it up this year. Last year I went a little crazy with adding and planting new and this year I will do a little of that but also work on fine tuning the spots that are already happy and reviving some sad neglected things that came with our house. You can never have enough David Austin roses though and I will definitely find some space for a few more.

Do It All Over Again – This one is both exciting and terrifying but I have always pictured two kids so we are going to try for another baby soon. Watching Greta around other babies is basically the sweetest thing ever so luckily that is encouraging. Just trying to focus on getting myself in the best shape possible both mentally and physically and hoping for the best. Ahhhhhhhh!


Secret Garden

January 14, 2016

We are in the depths of winter now and I find myself pining for the green of my garden. This past spring and summer I really took to digging in the dirt and found it is a great form of therapy for me. I love tending to the tiny plants and watching a once barren plot of dirt fill in with cascading tendrils of green and cheery button blooms. I’ve always had a strong affection for roses and our house did come with a very old and established rose garden but nothing can compare to the gorgeous cupped old-fashioned David Austin garden roses.

I will admit I became a little overly greedy and purchased more than I was ready for, turns out there is more to rose growing than just sticking a plant in the ground. I think they will all survive the winter and in the spring I plan on moving a few to more favorable locations. Luckily we had a white picket fence put in that has opened up some new rose real estate. Is there anything more lovely than an antique blush rose climbing up a white fence? Counting down the days until the first flush! Until then I have these photos from last summer to keep me company.

Queen of Sweden

Queen of Sweden

Strawberry Hill

Strawberry Hill

St Swithun

St. Swithun 




Queen of Sweden and Crocus

I’m eagerly anticipating receiving the new catalog to plan new additions for this year. Maybe I will stray from the pink/peach/cream tones? Probably not, though the dark velvety petals of Munstead Wood and quite enchanting. I just might have to find a spot to work those colors in. Gardening has proven to be such a wonderful hobby for me and luckily Greta enjoys digging in the dirt so it is something we can do together. Dreaming of warm days in the garden surrounded by my English beauties.

Gluten Free Pear Streusel Coffee Cake

December 16, 2015

Gluten Free Pear Streusel Coffee Cake

What could be better to wake up to than the scent of cinnamon, pears and freshly brewed coffee? This crumbly streusel topped coffee cake would be perfect to whip up on Christmas morning to eat while opening presents but is also simple enough to throw together when you have company stopping by. The pears keep the cake super moist and it is springy and light enough to fool all your gluten-eating friends. Finding the right flour blend to use in GF baking is so important, I really love this one. Plus anything with a streusel topping instantly wins, you can never go wrong with butter and sugar.


Makes 9 Squares

1 1/2 cups gluten free flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

2 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 large pear, peeled and chopped

For Streusel Topping

2/3 cup gluten free flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cardamom

6 tablespoons cold butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. In a large bowl mix 1 1/2 cups flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt and granulated sugar. Add the melted butter, eggs, milk and vanilla extract and stir until combined. Fold in chopped pears and pour into a greased 8×8″ baking pan.

In a separate bowl combine 2/3 cup flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom. Add cold butter and cut into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or two forks until the butter is the size of small peas. Bake for 30-40 minutes until center is puffed and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes before cutting into squares.


Saffron and Cardamom Lucia Buns

December 13, 2015

Gluten Free Saffron Cardamom Lucia Buns

Scandinavian traditions have always been a favorite part of the Christmas season for me – I love all the decorations and delicious baked treats. One of the most fascinating for me is Lucia Day, celebrated on December 13th. The crown of candles is so beautiful! I fondly remember reading about the story in my Kirsten American Doll book, haha.

This year I decided to get a little festive and make a batch of the traditional saffron buns. Gluten and I have officially broken up so I spent some time researching recipes and finally tested out this gluten free version. It has a nice texture and is sweetly scented with cardamom, one of my favorite spices. Greta had fun making them with me and I hope we can carry on the tradition every year – maybe one day I will make her a crown of candles and she can be my little Lucia.

Lucia Buns


Makes 16 Buns

4 tablespoons butter

1 cup whole milk

1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon ground psyllium husk

1 package yeast

1 teaspoon saffron

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 eggs

2 teaspoons ground cardamom

2 1/2 cups gluten free flour (I used this blend)

Raisins to decorate

Melt butter in a small saucepan and add milk. Let the milk warm up slightly, to about 105 degrees. Pour the milk and butter mixture into a mixing bowl and add 1 teaspoon sugar, psyllium husk and the yeast. Give it a quick stir and let the mixture sit until the yeast bubbles, about 10 minutes. Add the saffron, remaining sugar, salt, xanthan gum, 1 egg, cardamom and mix until combined. Slowly add the flour and mix for 5 minutes using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover the bowl with a towel and leave in a warm part of the kitchen for 30 minutes to rise. Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough a few times until it becomes elastic. The dough will be very sticky at first so be generous with the flour! Pinch off a small ball about 1.5″ diameter and roll into a log, forming into an “S” shape. Cover the buns with a towel again and let rise another 30 minutes. Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl and brush the buns. Dot each end with a raisin to decorate and bake for 10-12 minutes. Traditionally served in the morning with hot coffee to sleepy parents by the eldest daughter of the house, dressed in white with a crown of candles.

*adapted from this recipe

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