CEREAL MILK chocolate coconut cream pie

Mar 17, 2017

Cereal milk.
My all-time favorite ingredient.
Most recently, I have found myself incorporating it into everything.
Personal fav: dumping it into my morning iced coffee.
This week each year I find myself craving Lucky Charms.
On Tuesday, Pi Day had me craving pie as well, so I created a Lucky Charms pie.
Not just any Lucky Charms pie, but a cereal milk chocolate coconut cream pie.
Check your pulse. and your blood sugar.
Recipe (if it even counts as a recipe):
Bake your pie crust (or mini crusts) and let them cool completely.
Make your cereal milk chocolate pudding (recipes below) and incorporate 2 parts pudding to 1 part whipped cream.
Fill the crusts with the magical goop.
Sprinkle with left over Lucky Charms (if you have any left over, why would you have any left over?) and dollop with whipped cream.

Cereal milk chocolate pudding:
2 2/3 cups cereal milk
1/4 cup cocoa 
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
(Sweeten with sugar according to how sweet or unsweet your cereal milk ended up being)

Bring 2 cups of cereal milk to a boil in a saucepan, then remove from heat. Sift cornstarch into a bowl. Whisk in the salt. Drizzle in the remaining 2/3 cups of cereal milk while whisking to incorporate. Whisk in the egg. Drizzle about 1/2 cup of the boiled cereal milk while whisking quickly to incorporate and prevent lumps from forming. Transfer the mixture back into the saucepan of boiled cereal milk and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Press the pudding through a sieve then stir in the vanilla extract. Divide between 6 dishes. Serve warm, or chill in the refrigerator till completely set, about 2 hours.


Buy a chocolate pudding mix and add cereal milk as the liquid (according to the package directions).
I'm never too good for the quick & easy (and cheap) Sandra Dee semi-homeade way, but sometimes usually homemade is best.

 Also, I prefer coconut milk with my cereal, so I accidentally made my pies dairy free. 
I incorporated Califia toasted coconut almond milk (left over from my bowl of Lucky Charms) into the chocolate pudding mix and used SoDelicious coconut milk whipped cream. 

the great book wall project

Mar 15, 2017

For the longest time, I've had quite the obsession with books. 
As a kid I didn't play with Barbie dolls or baby dolls; I read books. 
As an adult, I find myself incorporating books into all of our decor.
Books are quite nostalgic.
The worn pages. The smell. The dog eared corners.
We used vintage books as centerpieces at our wedding and many of those books have been re-purposed around our home. 
Over the last few months, I've been working hard (and very, very, very slowly) on this book wall project. 
We have a large open wall in our living room and I wanted to fill the space with one huge installation.

We are lucky enough to live in an area surrounded by many historic homes. Over the last year many of these homes are being renovated. The home across the street from us is one of the oldest in McKinney, housing it's 5th generation.
The owners recently repaired a fence on their property and I was lucky enough to get some of the scrap wood from their old fence. 
Reclaimed wood.
Doesn't it have so much character?
I started off by nailing the wood to some wall studs for extra support.
Books are heavy.
Flashback to 5th grade, when books were so heavy, that you just hadddddddd to have a rolling backpack. Anyone else? The great fad of 1999.
After arranging (and re-arranging and re-arranging) the book placement on the floor, I finally became brave enough to nail each book to the wood.
It literally took me about a month.
Analysis paralysis.
I nailed each book (open, nails on both sides, through the pages) and left about 6 pages to spare in the middle (without nails through them) so that I could invisibly hold them down with double stick tape (covering the pages with the nails in them).
Did that make sense?
That was oddly very hard to put into words. 
Basically: buy all the nails and all the double stick tape and make it happen.
Isn't she lovely? 

Our quick jaunt across Europe {Switzerland}

Feb 20, 2017

After spending a day in Paris then visiting the south of France, we hopped on a train (or three) to Switzerland.
Our time in Switzerland was filled with the most magical cheese of all time, a few not so cheap thrills (canyoning, white water rafting and paragliding), and a little bit a lot of rain.
Warning: Here comes a lot of words followed by a lot of pictures.
The train ride into Interlaken was one of the most memorable rides of our lives. We rode alongside the beautiful deep turquoise Lake Thun, tucked up against the Swiss Alps. I was initially sad that it was raining during our arrival, but as we pulled into town the rain stopped and a rainbow appeared over the lake.
This basically set the tone for our time in switzerland. 
We couldn't get discouraged by rain and cloudiness, because they would ultimately bring about some really great experiences.
One afternoon, we biked through the rain to the lake, among some bright green, foggy pastures, alongside the most blue river we've ever seen. The mystic rain seemed to emphasize the colors and the sounds. 
I can still hear the cow's bells ringing through the pastures.
Cows with real cowbells.
It was very unexpected, but those cowbells made me SO happy.
I would literally smile every time we passed a cow in a field with a cowbell slowly, loudly ringing. 
It was the most swiss thing of all time. 
Aside from the fondue.
That cheese. That cheese. That cheese.
Following our experience canyoning down the ice cold glacier water of the Alps (recap here & GoPro video here), we ate one of the greatest cheese sandwiches of our lives. We still talk about that plain gruyere cheese sandwich to this day. Once we changed out of our wetsuits into dry warm clothes (the best feeling ever) our guide Stan, with Outdoor Interlaken (who we actually had as a guide again the very next day for white water rafting) sliced up some fresh bread, cheese, and tomatoes and cracked open some local beer for everyone. We were beyond exhausted from the combination of adrenaline + shivering, and I swear to you, that cheese sandwich and beer quenched a thirst like nothing has ever done before.
We spent a total of three nights and four days in Interlaken. The city itself was incredibly charming, and the people were so kind. Every home had bright flowers overflowing in their window sill flower boxes. We didn't get all the gorgeous mountain views we were hoping for because it was quite hazy and rainy most of the time we were there, (darn you, expectations) but the rain made for some really great canyoning and rafting. When the sun decided to come out on our third day, we were able to go paragliding through Paragliding Interlaken. Running down the side of a mountain and jumping off the edge strapped to a friendly stranger (who speaks broken English) is fun! …terrifying and exhilarating and more terrifying. Once the pre-jump jitters wore off, the "driver" let each of us take the reigns and "steer" which was also terrifying fun. My driver decided to do a u-turn 360 degree loopedy-loop thing which dropped my stomach and freaked me the hell out (the GoPro footage is still too disturbing to watch) BUT THE VIEW WERE INSANE. Empty your wallets, trust the stranger with your life and strap in. It's worth it.
We stayed at Balmer's Hostel (along with 2394083209483209 other Americans).
The hostel was great and cheap and clean (we got the only room with a balcony!), and they even had a beer garden and special hammock room. Interlaken is very proud of their spring water. There are many pure water fountains around the city where they encourage you to fill up your water bottles (and because the city is quite pricey, it'll save you a penny or two to drink the free water so you might as well #gogreen).
Interlaken is mighty touristy (there's a Hooters on the main street), but it's a great central hub for all outdoor adventures. Some call it the adventure capital of Europe. We felt very safe during our time there, and we were able to walk (and bike) our way through all of the city. 
Our time in Interlaken was the highlight of our trip through Europe, and we can't wait to return one day to see more of the Alps.

It wouldn't be a true vacation without a few additions to Josh's Cats of the World series . . . 

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