Homemade Caramel Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Many thanks to Nestle Toll House for sponsoring today’s story and encouraging me to use new DelightFulls Filled Baking Morsels in my recipes!  

Spring weather is here, my friends! And with the warmer temps, I feel a little burst of happiness, too. I’m a little more energetic, a little more apt to say “yes” when the girls ask to do something fun, and I’m in the mood for warm weather eats!

A few years ago, I bought an old ice cream maker off of Craigslist and I’ve been enjoying it ever since. I perfected my basic vanilla ice cream recipe (no eggs!) and have been playing around with fun flavors to create some amazing homemade ice cream for me and the family.

IMG_6535 When I first found out about Nestle Toll House DelightFulls (ahem, filled chocolate chips!) I knew I had to eat them by the handful make some ice cream. (When life gives you lemons, ya know?!) Just LOOK at all of the amazing flavors they have!

I grabbed a couple of bags of the caramel-filled DelightFulls and went home on a mission to create a delicious homemade caramel chocolate chip ice cream to enjoy after our dinner on the grill. I LOVE SPRING. IMG_6539 As usual, my homemade ice cream turned out fabulous! With only a handful of ingredients and the delicious Nestle Toll House DelightFulls, you can make it, too!


1 C Whole Milk
3/4 C Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
2 C Heavy Cream
1 bag of Milk Chocolate Caramel Filled Nestle Toll House DelightFulls

In a large bowl, (I used my electric mixer) whisk together the milk, sugar, and salt, until frothy. Then, stir in the vanilla and heavy cream to just combine. Pour the mixture into a large container with a lid and set it in the freezer for about 30 minutes to chill.

IMG_6537 Once cold, set up your ice cream maker. Pour the chilled mixture into the frozen bowl of your ice cream maker and turn it on. Let it spin for 15-20 minutes, until it reaches soft-serve consistency. Slowly add the Nestle Toll House DelightFulls, and let the ice cream spin a few minutes more. Once the filled chocolate chips are evenly dispersed in your ice cream, transfer the mixture into a large container with a lid. Freeze for 3-4 hours, or until it resembles the ice cream consistency you enjoy most.

Not only is this homemade ice cream completely delicious, it’s easy, too!

IMG_6536 *Nestle Toll House DelightFulls Filled Baking Morsels bring you delicious and exciting way to bake! Our innovative technology provides the same great Nestle Toll House Chocolate you know and love, now filled with 4 delicious flavors. Slightly larger than a regular morsel, these morsels allow you to put a special twist on traditional recipes like a cookie or a brownie, or open up a variety of new fun recipes to try! The DelightFulls filled morsels hold their shape when they bake, and can be used whole, cut in half, or coarsely chopped for a surprising delight of flavor and color in a baked good (not to mention popping them in your mouth right out of the bag!)

HELLO Naturally Friendly Toothpaste

Thank you to hello toothpaste for sponsoring this post!

IMG_6380 You guys know I love a great product. Anything that is healthy, safe, and effective gets an A+ in my book. If it tastes amazing, well then that’s great, too! hello sent me a package full of their amazing products – toothpastes in outrageous flavors, both for me and the kids! Their bright packaging and creative flavors had me at once! I couldn’t wait to try them out. My personal favorites were the mojito mint (my fav drink!) and the pink grapefruit mint! The girls loved the bubble gum and blue raspberry!  IMG_6383 For those of you with little ones at home, hello is also introducing a kid’s line, featuring the same great formulas but in mint-free flavors kids will love, like bubble gum, green apple, and blue raspberry. My girls don’t like mint at all – they say it’s “too SPICY!” Leaving out the mint means kids will brush longer, for healthy, sparkling smiles! Boom.

hello® is clinically proven to strengthen enamel and protect against cavities, these awesomely delicious pastes polish teeth and freshen breath in flavors like supermint, mojito mint, pink grapefruit mint, and the newest — peach mango mint. Formulated WITHOUT artificial sweeteners, dyes, or preservatives (not to mention things like triclosan or polyethylene microbeads – look ‘em up!), hello products are never tested on animals – in fact they’re leaping bunny certified – and made in the USA.

IMG_6382 You can find hello’s line of new toothpastes at various retailers across the USA, with the new Peach Mango Mint and kid’s lines found exclusively at select Target stores and Target.com.

xoxo, L


Our Favorite Meatless Meals

One of my goals for the year is to share more FOOD with you. We love food and have learned the benefits of cooking, striving for from-scratch whole foods as often as possible. With that, we try to balance our meals so that we aren’t having meat every single night. I know Lent is a popular time to give up meat, so I thought I’d share with you our very favorite meatless meals. If you are trying to cut back on meat protein, here are some amazing recipes for you to try. (Even my caveman husband can vouch for how delicious these meatless meals are!) vegetarian meals

  1. Smokey Lentil Tacos – This recipe is just inspiration for the ones I make. I usually cook lentils in water or broth, then season them like I would taco meat. We top our tacos with avocado, cilantro, cojita cheese, and salsa verde. You can make them however you like!
  2. Tortellini, Bean, Tomato & Spinach Salad - This is really a great summer meal, but you could easily make it now, too. Great to eat for lunch all week long. The pepperocinis make it!
  3. Shakshuka (African Baked Eggs) - You might feel adventurous just by the name of this one, but really, it’s just eggs, poached in tomatoes and peppers. So delicious!
  4. Fettuccine Alfredo Ok, so this is NOT healthy, but a really great special-occasion meatless meal. We always make it Christmas Eve. We usually have it with a green veg or kale salad.
  5. Curry Grilled Veggies with Chickpeas & Polenta - Here’s one that I was hesitant to make the very first time, but keep coming back to because it’s SO DAMN GOOD. If you like curry, this is a keeper. If chickpeas aren’t your thing, switch them out for a different bean.
  6. Black Bean Soup - So much flavor in this soup! Great with a cheese quesadillas or tortilla chips.
  7. Veggie Frittata - Frittatas are a quick and easy weeknight meal, and extra delicious in a cast iron.
  8. Chunky Vegetable Soup – Nothing beats a hearty winter soup. This one is delicious and perfect with a nice salad and some crusty bread. 
  9. Smoky Sweet Potato Burgers - There are some steps to this recipe, but they are worth the time! The garlicky cream is to die for.
  10. One Pot Pasta - If you’re on Pinterest, you’ve probably seen this lurking around. It’s a good one! Add whatever veggies you like for a tasty meal and easy clean-up!

Now who’s hungry?! xoxo, L


Days for Girls

Do you believe that you can change the world? Do you think that you can make a difference? Do you think you can inspire your kiddos to go and do the same?

I’ll be honest, “changing the world” often feels overwhelming and unattainable. I feel small and incapable compared to the hugeness of the world and the depth of all its problems. But then I remember that teeny, tiny things can make a difference. And teeny tiny things add up. And other people see those teeny tiny things and then they start to make teeny tiny changes too. And all of a sudden, those teeny tiny things become HUGE and you realize YOU ARE ABLE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!


My friend Jillian (who lives in ITALY, OMG!) has started working with Days for Girls, a non-profit that has caught my attention! Days for Girls has an amazing network of volunteers all over the world who sew and put together reusable menstruation kits to disperse to women and girls in over 60 countries who are in need. Amazing, right?! Jillian has been making kits for over a year, and recently had the chance to go to India to deliver them. You can read all about her experience here.

It’s easy to think about people needing food or water or shelter, but we forget some of these other basic necessities that make it possible to live our lives. Can you imagine not being able to go to work or school because of your period? Even worse, can you imagine losing your job because you had to stay home while you were menstruating? I certainly cannot.

The Days for Girls menstruation kits last approximately 3 years and allow girls and women to go on with their lives while dealing with their period. No more missing school. No more missing work. Life goes on. So much good done through such a small thing. I love it.

Feel incapable no longer, my friends. You can change the world by supporting Days for Girls. You can donate, sew kits, start a team, spread the word, and more.

Click here to learn more about how you can change the world through Days for Girls


We’re Moving!

I am so sorry that I haven’t been posting regularly around here. I don’t recommend starting a new business and buying a house at the same time. Yep, that’s right! We can cross off one of our goals for 2015. The Stroessner family bought a house and is moving! We close and move in next week! I can hardly wait!

Doormat We’ve gotten a lot of questions about our move – if we are leaving the farm, keeping our chickens, etc. It’s true, we are moving back into the city. We found an adorable Cape Cod on a cute little caul-de-sac in the most beautiful neighborhood. We will be a short drive from Phil’s office and within walking/biking distance of the girls’ school, the public library, and the farmer’s market.

No more farm life for us. It’s a tad bittersweet, but I know it’s the right decision for our family. We will miss the starry skies and the quiet, but we are glad to no longer have a 30-min drive into town or the chance of finding a snake on our bathroom counter. (Yeah, that happened. I still have nightmares.) We are taking our chickens with us! It’ll be quite a transition for them, but I’m sure they’ll be happy to no longer be coyote prey.

The home is in great condition. In fact, we don’t have to do anything to it before we move. I’m still kind of shocked about that. Every other house we looked at needed wallpaper removed, hunter green and burgundy walls painted over, or carpet ripped up. But not this one. It’s in amazing shape and is ready for our sweet family of 5.

As you can imagine, I’m over the moon excited to decorate it and make it ours. I’ve spent too many nights on Pinterest, gathering inspiration and dreaming up how I want it to look. Of course, we’ll have to take it slow and do it bit by bit, which will be hard. I’m going to do my best to share the progress with you here!

Anyway, I just wanted to give you a bit of an update! I’ll be posting sporadically here over the next few weeks while we move. Don’t forget, Madre Beads is opening next month! I should have an official grand opening date soon!

Thanks so much for staying in touch! I love you all so much! (Didn’t mean to rhyme!) xoxo, L


Compost Popcorn for The Boxtrolls Family Movie Night

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Universal Pictures, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #BoxtrollsFamilyNite http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

compost popcorn mix Movie night is a special thing at our house. The girls aren’t allowed to watch movies during the week, so we enjoy our family movie nights on the weekends. When we have a movie night, we try to make it fun with something special involved – take-out, a blanket fort, or in this case a special treat. I find that this makes them more inclined to sit and enjoy the entire movie, rather than getting bored halfway through. (Kids, man!)

boxtrolls-movie-night Recently, we purchased The Boxtrolls on DVD. The girls could not wait to watch it together as a family! I knew we’d love the movie, based on the storyline and the makers. (Same people who did Coraline!) The Boxtrolls is about an orphan named Eggs who is taken in by a group of underground trash collectors. Together, they work to defeat an evil exterminator, Archibald Snatcher. Because the movie takes place under the city of Cheesebridge,  I knew I needed to make a trash or dump-themed snack to go along!

I decided to whip up this fun compost popcorn recipe for us to enjoy while we watched The Boxtrolls. Inspired by Momofuku’s compost cookies, this compost popcorn is complete with butterscotch chips, pretzels, mini marshmallows, and more. It was easy to throw together and the girls loved it!

compost-popcorn-ingredients Ingredients:

1 bag of popped Pop Secret Home-Style Popcorn
1 bag (11 oz) of butterscotch chips
2 T butter
2 T light corn syrup
1 C pretzels
1 C mini marshmallows
1 C broken up graham crackers
Brown paper bag

In a microwave bowl, combine butterscotch chips, butter, and corn syrup. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and combined. In a large brown paper bag, combine popcorn, pretzels, mini marshmallows, and graham crackers. Pour butterscotch mixture over the popcorn mix. Shake the paper bag until everything is coated in butterscotchy (totally a word) goodness. Then, pour your compost popcorn mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet to “dry.”  compost-popcorn-bag Compost popcorn is delicious and perfect for your family viewing of The Boxtrolls at home. If you have any compost popcorn leftovers, it will keep in an air-tight container for 3-4 days.

Side note: my girls LOVED the movie. (Even the few scary parts. They are 4 and 3.) They have asked to watch Eggs and The Boxtrolls each day since!


*You can find both The Boxtrolls DVD and Pop Secret 10-ct Home-Style Popcorn at Wal-mart while supplies last.


Losing the Baby Weight, Month 2

One of my new year’s resolutions is to lose the baby weight and take better care of myself. I’m doing a 3-part series about it over at Mom.me. In my first post, I share my goals and expectations. Now that January is over, I’m sharing about my successes and failures, what I learned during Whole 30, and what I hope to accomplish next….

I can’t believe it has already been a month! I’m over 30 days into my journey to lose the baby weight and feel good about myself. January was interesting, I’ll say that. I failed at a few things, but made some real changes, too. I am down 7 pounds and I’ve lost 3 inches around my waist and hips. (Insert applause emoji here.)

The extreme clean eating only lasted 15 days. I’m still breastfeeding my nine-month-old several times a day and could not make milk with such a restricted diet. As soon as I added oats back into my routine, my production was back to normal. During that time though, I did learn several things about myself…

Click here to read the full post!

Mic Check… Is This Thing On?

Hello? Check 1, 2… Is anyone there? 

Oh my gosh, you guys. I don’t know what happened. It has been nearly 3 weeks since I last posted. I am still alive and well, in case you were wondering, just busy.

If you haven’t heard, I’m starting a brand new, scary exciting adventure! Go find @madrebeads over on Instagram to take a peek into my new business. Long story short, I’m opening up shop this spring, selling handmade jewelry that’s eco-friendly, non-toxic, and BEAUTIFUL! They are ideal for mamas with babes, but perfect for anyone! I hope you’ll follow along so you can see all of the progress. (P.S. There’s a little giveaway going on, too! Make sure you enter for a chance at winning TWO of my necklaces before the shop is open to the public!)  IMG_5899 I have still been busy blogging elsewhere. (Bills, man. They gots to be paid.) Here’s what I’ve been up to around the interwebs…

10 Homemade Donut Recipes That’ll Have You Drooling

20 Things You Become a Pro At Once You Have Kids

The Mom I Wish I Was

My Resolution to Lose the Baby Weight

Why I Love Having 3 Kids

My Best Tips for Work at Home Moms

Thanks so much for checking in. Hopefully you won’t hear crickets here the next time you stop by! xoxo, L

Winter Crafts for Kids

winter crafts for kids Winter is here, my friends! And I’m afraid it’s here to stay. The windchill is -9 out today where I am, so we are snuggled up indoors, trying to brainstorm some boredom-buster activities. If you’ve got kids at home, you know that the winter months are the hardest. Everyone starts to go crazy from being cooped up inside for so long. To remedy the winter blues, I’ve put together a round-up of some really fun and creative winter crafts for kids. These winter crafts and activities are sure to keep your littles entertained while you wait for spring to arrive!

Click here to see all of the winter crafts & activities!

xoxo, L