BEGIN June 2016 | Corina's Corner

Father's Day | Homemade Ice Cream

6.30.2016


We made 15 quarts of homemade ice cream for Father's Day this year. Who doesn't love ice cream? And homemade? EVEN BETTER! My dad loves strawberry ice cream and he also loves peaches, and I married into kind of the biggest ice cream loving family on earth, so this seemed like the perfect Father's Day present. We made 3 flavors: Strawberry, Peach Pie, and Cherry Brownie. All of them were divine so I thought I'd share our recipes. All of them have the same base, just with different add-ins. We used our electric ice cream maker (this one) and our recipes each make 5 quarts.



Sumptuous Strawberry

2 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups half and half
1 1/2 TBSP vanilla
5 cups whipping cream
3 cups frozen pureed strawberries
2 cups diced fresh strawberries

Scald milk (it should start bubbling around the edges) and then remove from heat. Add sugar and salt and stir until dissolved. Then add whipping cream, half and half, and vanilla. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes. Add strawberries to chilled mixture and you're good to go! Follow the directions on your ice cream maker to finish.

This recipe makes 5 quarts.



Peach Pie Perfection

2 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups half and half
1 1/2 TBSP vanilla
5 cups whipping cream
2 cups frozen pureed peaches
1 cups diced fresh peaches (or nectarines)
1-2 pre-made, baked pie crusts

Scald milk (it should start bubbling around the edges) and then remove from heat. Add sugar and salt and stir until dissolved. Then add whipping cream, half and half, and vanilla. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes. Add peaches to chilled mixture. Follow the directions on your ice cream maker. Slice up the baked pie crust and add it at the very end.

This recipe makes 5 quarts.



Wild Cherry Brownie (COPYCAT CHERRY GARCIA)

2 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups half and half
1 1/2 TBSP vanilla
5 cups whipping cream
2 pound sweet cherries, pitted and diced
2 cups brownie balls (we took brownies and rolled them into tiny balls)

Scald milk (it should start bubbling around the edges) and then remove from heat. Add sugar and salt and stir until dissolved. Then add whipping cream, half and half, and vanilla. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes. Add cherries to chilled mixture and you're good to go! Follow the directions on your ice cream maker. Add brownie balls at the very end.

This recipe makes 5 quarts.



What is your favorite kind of ice cream? Have you ever tried to make it at home?

P.S. I got these cute quart ice cream containers at my favorite cooking store Gygi.

Europe Movie

6.29.2016

How to Plan a Two Week Trip to Europe

6.28.2016


A few people have asked how we planned the itinerary for our trip, how we chose the attractions and activities we did and saw, whether we used a travel agency or tour group and where we stayed. How did we see it all? So I thought in conjunction with all of the city blog posts (London, Paris, Cinque Terre, Pisa, Rome, and Amsterdam) I'd make a big post of trip planning tips and tricks.

We didn't use a travel agency and we didn't go with a tour group. We planned this whole trip on our own, from start to finish. Planning trips is totally my cup of tea. I could plan trips in my spare time, just for fun, I like it so much. Here's a little glimpse into our planning process:



The first thing we did was buy our plane tickets. This helped structure our itinerary. We knew we would be flying into London and out of Amsterdam and we knew that we would be there for 2 weeks. From there we had to decide where else we wanted to go and how long we wanted to be in each place. This was trickier than it should have been. It seems like everyone has an opinion about how fast or slow to go on trips. We had some friends who went to Europe a few years ago and they never stayed in one place longer than 2 days and said they moved too fast. We've also had friends go to Europe and stay in one city the entire time, all 8 days of their trip. My mom said that when she's traveling she likes to move really fast and see as much as possible. In the end we were pretty pleased with how long we were in each city. We always tried to follow Rick Steve's recommendation to stay at least 2 nights in the same place so you can have a little bit of familiarity and comfort on that second night.

WHERE TO GO: We know from the beginning we'd be flying into London and out of Amsterdam. We also knew that we wanted to go to Paris while we were there. For a while we were just going to go to those 3 cities. Then we decided to add Rome, and since we were going to be in Italy we also added Cinque Terre (and then while we were on our trip we decided to spend a few hours in Pisa on our way to Rome).

We chose our destinations based on bucket lists, places we had seen friends go, cities that looked cool...etc. It's not too hard to find somewhere cool to go.



TRAVEL BETWEEN CITIES: There are a lot of different ways to get between cities (plane, train, car, bus, boat...etc.). We mostly flew between cities because we found that it was the cheapest and saved us the most time. One great resource for planning this is part of the trip is Google Flights. It helps you find the cheapest days to fly and which airlines to use. It also tells you the flight times that are available across all of the airline companies on the particular day you want to travel (in case you are on a tight schedule) and you can also search train prices as well). We also really liked Rome2Rio which helped us plan the trains we took in Italy. (A few of my other favorite flight planning sites are Skyscanner and Kayak.)

Using Google Flights we decided that it was best for our schedule and price range to fly AirFrance from London to Paris ($65 each). From Paris we flew Ryanair to Pisa ($26 each). Leaving Rome we flew EasyJet to Amsterdam ($80 each). We had good experiences with all of the airlines we used. One thing to note is that Ryanair typically doesn't fly out of the main airports. Leaving Paris we had to take an hour long shuttle ride to get to the airport where the Ryanair flights were departing.

While in Italy we took lots of trains (from Pisa to Riomaggiore, and then from Riomaggiore back to Pisa on to Florence and then Florence to Rome). Our experience with the trains in Italy was interesting. They were on strike when we got there and I also had my phone stolen on a train at the train station in Pisa. So our initial experience was that the trains were unreliable and not safe. I felt like I had to be very "on guard" whenever we were on a train or at the train station, and to really keep a close eye on all of our stuff. Given that though we did really enjoy the high speed train from Florence to Rome. That was a fun experience.



WHERE TO STAY: We stayed almost exclusively in Airbnbs. The only exception was the hotel we stayed at in Riomaggiore. We looked at hotels for about a half second but realized very quickly that they were much more expensive (even if we booked them with Skymiles). Airbnb was great. I loved reading the reviews to really feel informed about the place we were inquiring about.

Here are a few tips about using Airbnbs:

1. Look for locations hosted by Superhosts. They will treat you well, their places will be awesome, and you will have all of the things you'll need for a comfortable stay. Our Superhost in London literally treated us like we were family. I almost want to send her a Christmas card. (Superhosts will be indicated by a special badge next to their profile picture).

2. While searching I was really careful to note locations where the host had ever canceled a booking. I avoided bookings because I didn't want to risk any kind of flakiness. In the reviews it will indicate if a booking has been canceled.

3. We've never been brave enough to try booking a private or shared room, we always rent an entire house/apartment. On a trip like this I wanted 100% privacy and security. I wanted to be able to leave my bags there during the day with my laptop and our passports and know that they were safe.

4. Know your specifications and search for them. On this trip it was very important to us that we had access to a washer and dryer. We also wanted good Wi-Fi, and a kitchen so we could eat breakfast at home to save money. We weren't renting cars in any of the cities we visited so we needed to have easy access to Tube/Metro stations so we also looked for information about that in the listing and reviews.



GETTING AROUND TOWN: We didn't want to rent a car in any of the cities we visited so we needed to figure out how to get to our Airbnbs from the Airport and how to get around in each city.

IN LONDON: We took Heathrow Connect from Heathrow to Paddington Station. (We could have taken Heathrow Express but decided to save a little bit of money since we weren't in a rush.) Getting around town we used the Tube. It was so easy to navigate and we loved that it worked so well with Google Maps. We bought Oyster cards at Paddington Station which made paying for our rides fast and easy. We also took one double decker bus (which you can pay for with the Oyster card). Next time we're in London we'll take more double decker buses because their routes also work with Google Maps and are easy to navigate.

IN PARIS: From Charles de Gaulle we took a taxi into Paris. We could have taken an RER train but since we were in a rush the taxi worked great. Within Paris we used the Metro. We downloaded the RATP Metro app which made navigating the Metro a cinch. Before our first Metro ride we purchased a carnet 10 pack, which gave us 10 rides within Zones 1 and 2 in Paris. We ended up having to buy a few single tickets past that but not enough to buy another 10 pack. To get to Versailles we had to buy different train tickets because it is in Zone 4 (can't use the carnets). The ticket machines in the train stations are pretty self explanatory and we used them quite a bit.

IN CINQUE TERRE: From Paris we flew to Pisa, and from Pisa we took a train to La Spezia and then on to Riomaggiore. There are train stations in all of the cities in Cinque Terre and the trains run between the cities every 15 minutes or so. There is also a ferry that runs between all of the towns. Alternatively, you can hike between them (some of the trails are closed at the moment but hopefully they'll open again someday).

IN ROME: Upon arriving in Rome we walked everywhere until it was time to get to the airport, when we took the most terrifying taxi ride of our life and were ripped off by the driver. (We didn't use the metro because we had heard that it wasn't totally safe.) Honestly, I'm not sure what the best way is to get around is in Rome. Walking was a exhausting, the metro was unsafe, and the taxi drivers were crazy...

IN AMSTERDAM: Bikes!! The very best way to see the Canal Ring is on bike. We took the train from the airport to Amsterdam Central and then walked to our Airbnb. Our Airbnb had bikes we could use for the rest of our stay. We could get everywhere we needed to go on the bikes, and we got there so fast (compared to all of the walking we did in Rome).



STAYING CONNECTED: Staying connected was much easier than I thought it was going to be, because so many places have free Wi-Fi and like I mentioned above, we made sure that all of the places we stayed had Wi-Fi. Because of this we were able to FaceTime our daughters back home every night. We also purchase a European SIM card right when we got there to use whenever we were out and about and needed to use a phone.



ACTIVITIES AND ATTRACTIONS: This is probably the biggest part of any trip, how are you going to fill your time. On this trip because it was just the two of us we knew that we'd be able to move pretty fast. Given this we still left some time for adjustments knowing that we could get tired or need a little break.

This is where I did the bulk of my research. I tried to find as many itineraries as I could, whether in blog posts or travel books (I even messaged a lot of my friends who had recently visited these cities and asked them what they did and liked/didn't like). I looked at the itineraries of Rick Steve's tours for the cities we'd be visiting, and also his itinerary tips. I really liked this website which helps you create an itinerary based on the pace you'd like to go. I also spent a LOT of time on pinterest, and pinned and read through anything that looked like it would be remotely helpful (here is my Europe Inspiration Board). I also read through lots of blog posts that said things like "10 things to do in...." (like this) or "The experience you can't miss in..." (like this). I looked at all of the City Passes (like the London Pass, Paris Pass...etc.) and read about the available attractions.

I always make a custom Google Map of each city we visit and mark restaurants or attractions we might be interested in visiting. This not only helps me get acquainted with the city but helps us know good restaurants to visit if we're out and about and start getting hungry.

We planned a lot of our trip around specific attractions we wanted to visit. For example the Portobello Market in London is really best visited on a Saturday, so we made sure that we were there on a Saturday. Another thing that really helped was a making a big master list for each city with attractions and their prices and the days/hours they were open. This was helpful because for example, the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays and Versailles is closed on Mondays, so it was an obvious choice that we visit the Louvre on Monday and Versailles on Tuesday. I also indicated on the list which places had cheaper tickets online verses which tickets we could purchase in person on site.



Let me know if you have any questions that I didn't answer. I would love to discuss further!

Do you enjoy planning trips? What are your best trip planning resources or secrets? What did I miss?

The Faces of Nomes

6.25.2016

Amsterdam

6.23.2016


Amsterdam was the 5th and final stop on our grand European adventure (after London, Paris, Cinque Terre, and Rome). As I mentioned before Amsterdam was never on my radar or my list of places I wanted to visit (We only went there because it was cheaper for us to fly out of Amsterdam than it was to fly home from London) but I LOVED IT! I can't wait to go back! It was beautiful and charming, the food was delicious, and I loved biking everywhere.

We stayed in the COOLEST place. It was in the Jordaan neighborhood and was on the top floor of a little canal building. (Here is a link to the Airbnb listing where we stayed...I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT.) One of the coolest parts about our Airbnb was that the booking included 2 bikes. I'm so glad we didn't have to rent bikes because knowing us I'm sure we would have rented them for about an hour, and exploring Amsterdam especially the canal rings on bikes was truly the best way to do it.

Here are a few links to articles and blogs with helpful Amsterdam information: 10 Things to do in Amsterdam, Where to buy the best Stroopwafel, 15 Dutch foods to try in Amsterdam, and here is our Google Map of Amsterdam.

Evening upon arrival [Sunday]
Dinner at neighborhood pub
Bike around town

Day 1 [Monday]
Lapjesmarkt (Fabric Market)
Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market)
Albert Cuyp Market (Street Market)
Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx
Anne Frank House
Van Gogh Museum
The Pancake Bakery
Canal Tour

Day 2 [Tuesday]
Lanskrool
Winkel 34

We arrived at the airport and then rode a train into Amsterdam Central Station. From Amsterdam Central we walked about 20 minutes to our Airbnb. It was a long walk with our bags. Once we got all settled we followed the recommendation of our host and had dinner at the pub which was 2 doors down. It was DELICIOUS! I wasn't expecting too much, but it ended up being fantastic. I had a pork loin and Jordan had a burrito. After dinner we grabbed our bikes and went out to ride around town for a few hours before heading back in for bed. Unlike in Rome, we loved spending time at our apartment so didn't totally mind when it started drizzling around 9:00. It gave us a good excuse to head back in and retire for the night.

Right away I was in love with Amsterdam. This city in gorgeous! The buildings are all darling and then add canals and it's COMPLETELY charming.



^^Jordan was in heaven riding bikes all around this awesome city. And boy am I glad I had him with me. He was so good at navigating those streets. Literally every street/bridge/corner looked the exact same but we never got lost with him in charge.

The only real commitment we had on our one full day in Amsterdam was tickets to see the Anne Frank House at 1:00. We also knew that we wanted to go to the Van Gogh Museum, and we decided to do that after Anne Frank.

We woke up and had a quick, delicious breakfast at our Airbnb (they had stocked the place with great breakfast foods!). Every Monday on the street where we were staying there is a fabric market (Lapjesmarkt), so of course we had to take a look at all of the beautiful fabric. I bought 2 pieces of gorgeous Dutch fabric.



^^Can I switch out my minivan for one of these little guys? They are barely wider than a bike... Do you think I could fit 2 carseats in there, plus myself? How about all of our groceries after a Sam's Club run?

After the Lapjesmarkt we rode over to the Flower Market (Bloemenmarkt). It was kind of heart breaking that we missed the tulips by about 2 weeks, but that just makes me even more determined to make it back to Amsterdam again someday. The bulbs were pretty crazy at the Flower Market, some of them were bigger than grapefruit.



^^They also had lots of plants for sale in cans.



From the Bloemenmarkt we headed to the Albery Cuyp Market for some Stroopwafels, but on our way we biked passed the CUTEST little party and toy store and I HAD to stop and look. I wanted to live in that store. Everything in it was so fun and cute. The store was called De Kinderfeestwinkel. I ended up buying some cotton ball string lights (which were really fun to get home!).



We ate our way through the Albert Cuyp Market. We had a long list of foods we hoped to find there and I think we were pretty successful in our quest.



^^We found some poffertjes pretty fast and of course had to get some.

After the poffertjes we found this stroopwafel cart. The man selling them was funny, it almost seemed like he was the stroopwafel poster boy. He asked every customer if they wanted to take a picture of him making their stroopwafel. I got a traditional and Jordan got one with chocolate on half (he said he liked the side without the chocolate better though).



We ate our stroopwafels as we walked down to the other side of the market. By the time we got to the other side our stroopwafels were gone and we had found another stroopwafel booth, so obviously we decided to get more. We actually liked these ones better, because they were a bit crispier.



After the Market we rode over to Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx for some fries. (You thought I was kidding when I said we ate our way through this town...)




We each got a fry with different sauce, one was the Belgian Mayonnaise and one was "traditional" fry sauce (not the same as Utah fry sauce but still delicious and tastier than the Belgian one). After our fries we had to hustle back to the Anne Frank House. I had purchased tickets weeks in advance for 1:00. I was very interested in seeing this because I read The Diary of Anne Frank in 8th grade and thinking back I think it is because of this that I have a love of journaling and notebooks and creating something on paper that is mine. It was thrilling to see her actual diaries and handwriting in them. We both really enjoyed the tour. At the end there was a little exhibition and film. In the film Emma Thompson says, "All her would haves are our opportunities." I really like that and am so glad her diary was somehow miraculously preserved.



^^The front of the Anne Frank House and site of her father's office, warehouse, and storeroom. Otto Frank had 2 companies that sold pectin. The spices and supplies were sensitive to light so the windows were blacked out. This was also helpful in keeping the Annex hidden.



The only big thing left on our Amsterdam list was the Van Gogh Museum so we headed there next with a small detour at the I amsterdam sign.



I absolutely LOVED the Van Gogh Museum. We got there at about 3:30 and left at 6 but only because the museum closed. I honestly wish we could have stayed about 3 more hours. (Unfortunately there was no photography allowed inside the museum) Like I mentioned in my Paris blog post I have loved Van Gogh ever since I learned about him in my 2nd grade Art class. This museum was so well put together. I loved seeing The Potato Eaters and Sunflowers, but my favorite painting I saw that day was Almond Blossoms. We bought the audio guides for this museum and I stood there looking at this masterpiece, hearing about how he painted it for his brother Theo after the birth of his son, Vincent WIlliam, and how it hung in Theo and Johanna's bedroom. I'm not sure why but I got really emotional hearing about how excited Vincent was for his little brother to become a father. It almost made the painting more real for me, it once hung on a bedroom wall like any other ordinary picture would. It also made me wonder how many different walls it had once hung on and how many eyes were able to see it. (Also in the audio guide blurb about Sunflowers I liked how it said that this painting was "yellow on yellow on yellow." It was such a cheery and happy painting, even though most of the flowers are actually dead or dying...)



From the Van Gogh Museum we headed to The Pancake Bakery for dinner. I had read about this place on a number of different blogs. We got a ham, cheese, and pineapple pancake with an order of poffertjes.



After dinner we didn't have anything planned so we decided to take a canal river cruise. One of our favorite parts of London was the river cruise so we decided it would probably be worth it. The river cruise started by Amsterdam Central. I was excited to be back over there because I really wanted to take some pictures of all of the bikes. THE MOST BIKES EVER!



^^Coming out of that train station for the first time is the craziest thing. I was SO amazed by all of the bikes. My American version of the term "bike-friendly" and the Dutch version of "bike-friendly" were so far from the same before visiting this city. In Amsterdam bikes rule the road. Cars always wait for bikers and it seemed like they always had the right of way. Bikes also had their own stoplights, and didn't always have to stop at the same ones that cars did.



^^I really like seeing how the kids get transported. This bike had two baby seats, one on front and one on back. I also saw a few bucket bikes, but the bucket was always on the front (not the back like these popular ones in Utah).

And this COMPLETELY blew my mind. It was a 3 story bike parking garage! How you would ever locate your locked bike in there is beyond my comprehension.



On to the river cruise...



^^There are lots of house boats in the canals. Some of them were really cool and some were very cute. We learned a lot about Amsterdam on the cruise, and about the 4 canals in the Canal Belt. I was really surprised to learn that there are the same amount of canals/water in Amsterdam as in Venice but there are way, way less bridges.

We also learned about the hoists that are on top of most of the buildings. I thought they were just for decoration, but I guess they really are still used for moving into/out of the buildings to hoist bigger things, like couches. The audio guide said that the average person in Amsterdam moves every 8 years.



Immediately after the canal cruise it started POURING! It was the most intense rainstorm I have ever witnessed. I think the rain was actually coming down sideways. Umbrellas were pointless. We stayed in the covered boat for about 15 minutes and then waited it out for a few more minutes inside the train station. Luckily it let up a bit and we were able to ride home without getting soaked to the core.

The next day we were heading back home to the United States, as our trip was coming to a close. We had a few hours in the morning before we needed to head to the airport so we went and got stroopwafels at Lanskrool, and then headed back to our street for some Dutch apple pie at Winkel 34. We pretty much had apple pie for breakfast.



After the apple pie we went to a few grocery stores on our street to buy some stroopwafels to bring home. We were looking for a particular kind (chocolate covered!) that our Airbnb had stocked in our fridge but sadly we weren't able to find them. We bought quite a few packs anyway.



^^The best kind of souvenir, amiright?



^^On our way back to the Airbnb I saw some people moving into a new house. They had this awesome ladder with a moving platform and motor that would haul the boxes up to the second/third floor. They weren't using the hoist, but they still had a pretty sweet way of getting big things up to the upper floors.



^^My bike had a frame lock, which needed to be unlocked with a key before it could be ridden. Before we would go anywhere I always felt like saying, "Hold on, let me start my bike."

Here are a few pictures of the Heart of the Jordaan B&B where we stayed. We stayed on the top floor, you can see part of the window under the hoist in the picture below. The other floors have bigger rooms that can also be rented out.

The inside was so charming and perfect and had everything we need for a wonderful stay. We loved that it had a washer and dryer, which we definitely took advantage of. The shower was in the ceiling of the bathroom, so essentially the entire bathroom was the shower, and I don't know but something about the slanty ceilings made the experience seem so much more authentic.



Amsterdam was the PERFECT finale to our amazing trip! 
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