Mar 29, 2015
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This weekend marks my 1st year of Making it with Stephany.  365 days of writing, photographing, creating and of course, your favorite and mine, video making!

 

Yes, it’s obvious that I am not the best writer.  I’m not the best video editor, or video host.  I’m learning, and trying hard every time to make improvements.  I don’t have a million followers, or want a million followers.  I just want to make shit, have a good time doing it and maybe inspire some people to try something new, make instead of buy, or just be yourself in a world full of sheep-le.  Cut all of your hair off, say what you feel, and don’t give a damn what “everyone else is doing”.  Be weird and silly, MIWS-style.  There is enough cookie-cutter nonsense everywhere you look.  That is what I wanted Making it with Stephany to be, a goofy and cheeky breath of fresh air in a YouTube world of crappy, boring YouTube videos.  They aren’t perfect but at least they’re different!

 

It’s been a weirdly difficult, but fun and new year.  What makes this project difficult is first and foremost, putting myself out there in such a visual way.  Have you ever made a video of yourself?  I hadn’t before MIWS was created.  After the first video was shot and edited, pushing that “publish” button was the hardest thing to do for 2 reasons.  #1, what if no one watched?  #2, what if someone did?  It’s hard to do….making yourself vulnerable to whoever watches those little videos.  I want them to be entertaining and full of useable information, and when I am the only one working on content, there can be a lot of pressure to make sure the content doesn’t suck.  Then, you throw my regular job into the mix, with a dash of 2 little boys and damn!, it’s a miracle I get any work out!  In my next year of “making”, I want to make more videos, recipes, and blog posts on a more regular basis.  Fingers crossed.

 

But as difficult as the past year has been, it has brought along so many new opportunities that I never would have had access to if I didn’t put my self out there.  The Emmy’s, the Jamie Oliver cocktail contest, hosting Stillwater Log Jam, contributing to a book, random newspaper and magazine articles, and my stints on Twin Cities Live.  If I didn’t take a big step out of my comfort zone, I’d never have had these new experiences.

 

I have a slew of new things on the horizon, some writing, more videos and working on some awesome non-MIWS projects that could really open up more doors.  I have learned that if I put in the work, and just be myself, great things could happen.  New things.  Crazy, weird things.  I like crazy, weird things.

 

I really appreciate all of the support from anyone and everyone who has made one of my recipes, watched one of my videos and shared any of my links.  Really, really, really.  I send you a million smooches and high fives.

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So, Happy Anniversary, MIWS viewers!  Thanks for hanging with me that last 52 weeks!  I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have!  To another year!  Cin-Cin!!

 

Mar 16, 2015
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From working in the wedding industry for almost 10 years, I have a lot of friends who have a lot of unique and awesome skills.  Tami Cabrera is one of those friends.  She is the owner and head baker at Muddy Paws Cheesecake, in St. Louis Park.  Plus, she is honestly one of the nicest, most wonderful people you will meet.

 

If you have been lucky enough to have been a guest at one of Tami’s 400 cheesecake-filled weddings a year, you have eaten Muddy Paws Chicago-style artisan cheesecake.  She has 222 flavors on the menu at all times and has over 600 flavors in her arsenal.  All sorts of candy, alcohol, fruit, coffee, cookies (and more) tops, swirls and melds with the creamy goodness of her cheesecakes.  Top flavors include Raspberry Swirl, Key Lime, Chocolate, and New York make the list.  My personal favorite is Bailey’s Irish Cream.  Because, DUH.  She can sell by the slice or entire cheesecakes and she offers a cheesecake sampler pack if you want to try some of the 600+ flavors.

 

She offers so many options, and sells and donates to so many places in the Twin Cities, it would be hard to believe if you have never tried her craft.  In addition to the weddings and events she books year round, she sells to restaurants, hosts charity events, does fundraising for schools and ships nation wide.  She offers gluten-free, vegan and sugar-free options.  Think you have a unique idea for a flavor??  She does custom cheesecakes too.

 

I spent a few hours with her in the bakery recently and shot this fun and informative video where Tami shows me how to make a successful cheesecake.  But, Recipe Thief’s beware.  She doesn’t give away any trade secrets on how exactly she makes her delicious cakes…just guidelines on how to make an ass kicking cheesecake.  She did pass on 2 cheesecake recipes that she thinks are pretty swell and that you should try out.  Or, just call, email or Tweet her your order!

 

Here is how to get ahold of Tami and her tasty treats:

Muddy Paws Cheesecake Website

Muddy Paws on Facebook

Muddy Paws on Twitter

Or just call her immediately with your order at (763) 545-7161

 

Or, if you want a go at making your own cheesecake, here are 2 recipes that Tami recommends.

 

Philadelphia Classic Cheesecake Recipe

New York Cheesecake Recipe from Allrecipes.com

Mar 16, 2015
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I was on Twin Cities Live again last week, this time sharing really easy and YUMMY St. Patty’s Day cocktails that will make green beer a thing of the past.

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(Special thanks to my friend Lindsey for the photos!)
Here are the recipes!

Homemade Irish Cream

1 1/2-2 cups of Irish whiskey, adjust to suit to your taste

1 cup heavy cream

1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk

2 1/2 tsp of chocolate syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Put all ingredients in a blender and mix on high for 30-40 seconds.  Bottle and store in the refrigerator.  Keeps 1-2 months in refrigerator.  Makes 4 cups.

 

 

Orange Irish Buck

2 oz Irish whiskey

6 oz ginger ale

juice of 1/2 fresh orange

Fill glass with ice.  Add whiskey, ginger ale, and orange juice.  Garnish with orange slice, stir and enjoy.

Optional:

Gold Sugar Glitter to rim the glass before you mix.

The Guinness Milkshake
4 cups vanilla or chocolate ice cream
1 14.9 oz can of Guinness, cold
2 oz Irish Cream
1/2 oz creme de menthe
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Optional: use crushed mint Oreo cookies or Andes baking chips as garnish.  Or add 2-3 mint Oreos to the blender and mix.

 

Mar 03, 2015
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My Gramma used to make everything from scratch.  Doughnuts, fried chicken, pasta noodles and my personal favorite, ice cream.  I remember homemade peach ice cream specifically.  So fresh and summery.  Creamy and nothing like that shit you buy in a cardboard container.  Just perfection in a bowl.

 

I feel as if I have been a “grown up” for only a few years now and with that title, I felt like it’s was time to act like a grown up.  It’s time to make my own ice cream.

I did some ice cream maker research and wanted this venture to be easy and not super duper expensive.  Since I already own a KitchenAid mixer, I went with the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment.  Bonus points for buying it while on sale and with a coupon!  #thriftybitch

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I had high hopes for my first batch of ice cream.  Lavender, fresh blueberries, and tons of tastiness in only a few hours.  But, I screwed it up so hard.  So much curdled milk.  All of that wasted cream and lavender, boo.  Did you know that the act of making ice cream is kind of complicated and takes time?  I guess I didn’t.  My tummy was telling me to hurry up, I did and made many mistakes.

After the 1st attempt failure, I did a lot of reading on the topic of making ice cream.  I read many different recipes and learned that good ice cream is not a race.  It’s a bunch of perfectly timed and executed steps that turn into yummy, yummy goodness.

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I started over, this time taking a really basic ice cream recipe and mastering that.  I would like to say I killed the Fresh Strawberry ice cream and my family of always hungry boys ate it in a matter of days.  After that success, I went right back to my dream of Lavender Honey Blueberry ice cream.  I got all of my ingredients and got back in the ice cream saddle.

 

Now I present to you, my very own creation:

Lavender Honey Blueberry Ice Cream

The ice cream base recipe is inspired from the Pioneer Woman‘s ice cream recipe.

Make about 4 cups of finished ice cream.

 

3 cups heavy cream

3 cups whole milk

3 tablespoons dried lavender flowers

8 large egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup honey

 

Put the heavy cream in medium sauce pan with 1/2 cup sugar on medium heat.  Stir in the vanilla extract and add the lavender.  Heat the cream mixture until it’s hot, but make sure you don’t let it boil or simmer.  The big secret of making successful ice cream base is to never get the cream mixture to a boil.  Curdled milk is your enemy.

Pull the pan off of the heat and let it steep for 15-20 minutes.  This is where you get the lavender flavor in the base.  The longer it sits, the stronger the lavender flavor.

 

Strain the cream mixture to remove the lavender and put the cream back in the saucepan.  Discard the lavender.

 

Next, whisk the egg yolks until they become a paler yellow in a large bowl.  This will take a couple of minutes.

 

Now it’s time to combine the yolks with the heated cream.  But this is another important step; you can’t just pour the yolks into the cream…they will instantly cook and your cream will have a side of scrambled eggs.  Yuck.  Grab a ladle or a small cup and SLOWLY pour a ladleful of hot cream into the bowl of yolks and keep whisking.  I add 2-3 ladlefuls of cream to the eggs until the eggs have tempered, meaning the eggs have gotten to the same temp as the hot cream.  Now you can add the yolks to the cream, stir to combine.

 

Add the blueberries and 1/2 cup of honey.  Turn a medium-low heat back on to the cream mixture, being careful not to boil it and stirring constantly.  The blueberries will heat up and burst, adding color and flavor.  In about 2-3 minutes it should be thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.

 

Remove from heat and strain mixture again.  This is to remove any slight curdling that may have happened, a little bit is OK.  A lot is gross.  (If you over did the heat and the base is really chunky you’re going to have to start over.)  Take the soft, burst blueberries out of the strainer and add them back to the cream.  Or discard them if you don’t want whole blueberries in your ice cream.

Add the 3 cups of whole milk to the cream mixture and stir to combine.  Then, place cream mixture in a clean bowl and chill until completely cooled, at least 2 hours.  You can use an ice bath method to speed up the process, but it’s messy and I liked just putting the bowl in the fridge and forgetting about it for a bit.

Then, add chilled cream mixture to an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s directions.

Once the ice cream is made, transfer it to a freezer safe container and put it in the freezer to firm up.  Then, eat the crap outta this amazing creation.