Friday, June 14, 2013

The Epic Family Weekend of All Things Fun and Wonderful

Hello friends. Here I am. I was buried under a pile of things, namely work, but also a little thing called "I have no words." But, today is Friday and the weekend is mere hours away and somehow my words have found me again.

You lucky thing, you.

Let me begin by saying that this upcoming weekend could be the most epic of weekends in my family's history.

It could be bigger than the time we all decided to go white water rafting and almost got stuck in the swirling vortex that is called "Sydel's Suck Hole."

It could be bigger than the time we got lost in east St. Louis at night.

And it could be bigger than the time when we all got up and sang "OKLAHOMA" in front of strangers.

This weekend is going to be epic because we are celebrating Father's Day, my mom's birthday, Claire's birthday and we are kicking off the FIRST ANNUAL PUTT PUTT CHALLENGE.

Oh, and my dad will be home.

CAN YOU FREAKING BELIEVE IT!? I bet you can feel the anticipation of all the joy that will be had.

(I am sorry about all the all-caps letters. I have some pent-up excitement.)


The birthdays and Father's day are fairly self-explanatory: cake, presents, hats, frolicking, napping and an overall good amount of cheer. But the putt putt challenge? Well that is a different thing entirely. And do you know why? It is because we are making our own putt putt course. In our yard. With our hands. And probably a good amount of duct tape.

Each of us has to come up with our own hole. Whoever has the best hole wins a big shiny prize.

This week has been all about strategy. Various sketches have been drawn, materials have been collected, sweat has been poured and trash-talk has been spewed. Saturday, we will tackle our individual holes, whether simple or elaborate, for the big tournament on Sunday.

Oh, and you have to name your hole. That could be the best part.

The good part about this challenge is that we are all on a level playing field. None of us are engineers or carpenters. The bad part about this challenge is that I am not an engineer or a carpenter. You can pretty much guarantee that a hot glue gun and stickers will be used to hold mine together.

So, if you have any ideas or suggestions about constructing your own miniature golf hole, feel free to pass them along. Or if you have an idea for a cool theme song, let me know. I am all about psyching out my competition, and I am pretty sure my 8 year-old nephew is the one to beat this year.

That little punk.

And with that thought, happiest of Fridays, people of the internet!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Recipe Round-Up: Raspberry Hazelnut Tart (Gluten Free!)

Yep. This should happen.

I am totally and completely in love with this tart. It SCREAMS summer! For reals.

This recipe is very similar to the White Chocolate Blueberry Tart, however, I made some changes so it is gluten free. You see, my sweet sister cannot eat gluten. Not even a teeny tiny bit. She will totally explode.

Just kidding. She won't explode, but she definitely won't feel well.

Since she discovered that she has Celiac Disease, I have been on a mission to take some of my favorite recipes and make them Claire-friendly. Thus, the Raspberry Hazelnut Tart was born.

Let me warn you: the entire thing can be eaten in one sitting. It is that good. And you can essentially add any fruit you want to this recipe, I just happen to be loving raspberries right now.

Shall we dive in? I think we shall.

First up: grab some hazelnuts and throw them on a cookie sheet. Toast them in the oven until they smell nutty and divine.

Next, take some white chocolate and melt it over a low heat until it is smooth and creamy. Set aside to cool completely.
In a mixing bowl, add cream cheese and sour cream and mix until smooth.

Then add the melted chocolate.
Zest a lemon.
Throw it in.
And squeeze the lemon juice into the mixture.
Mix again.
WA-LA! Done!

Now, take those gloriously toasted hazelnuts and grind them up.
Like so.
Then add some melted butter and a little sugar and mix. Press the nut mixture into your tart pan. I like my crust to still have a crunch but you can grind the hazelnuts finer if you wish.
Hey, it's your tart! Grind away!
Once the crust is in the tart pan, add your white chocolate filling:
Oh, that is some lemony goodness right there.
Then pile on the raspberries! You can add as many as you want.
 Go for it, you berry maniac!
Set the tart in the refrigerator for 1 hour and then dig in.
Totally, completely, heavenly.
This is the perfect summer dessert. Your friends and family will love you forever.
 So go forth and make some tart magic!

Raspberry Hazelnut Tart (Gluten Free)
9 oz. hazelnuts, toasted and ground
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup white chocolate chips
8 oz. sour cream
1 block cream cheese
1 small lemon, zested and juiced
3 6oz. packages fresh raspberries

Spread hazelnuts evenly on a cookie sheet and place in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, until aromatic and toasty. Once cooled, put into a food processor and grind up until smooth (or preferred consistency). Pour ground hazelnuts into a bowl and add sugar and melted butter. Mix until combined and press into 9" tart pan. Set in refrigerator until filling is ready.

For filling, melt white chocolate over low heat until smooth and creamy. Set aside to cool. In a mixing bowl, combine sour cream and cream cheese and mix. Add cooled white chocolate and mix. Add lemon juice and lemon zest and mix again. Pour filling into prepared crust and top with raspberries. Refrigerate for 1 hour and then dig in! To store, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Lasts up to 3 days.