Lots of Celebrating + Vanilla Coconut Milk Ice Cream

This weekend was filled with a lot of celebrating! On Friday I took a half day at work to attend a very special recognition ceremony for my mom where she has worked as the Preschool Director (and founder) for the past 26 years. The day was EVEN more special because my two brothers flew into Columbus to surprise my mom on her special day. One lives in New York City and the other in Orange County, CA, so to have them home was awesome. It is not often that we are all together in the same city, so it was something that I was really looking forward to. As someone who talks to my mom on a daily basis, it was SO hard to keep this surprise! You have no idea how happy I am now that I don't need to worry about letting the big surprise slip. I'm currently giving myself a big pat on the back for keeping that on the down low. Good job, Lauren.

Friday was also MY BIRTHDAY! I can't remember the last time my whole family was together for my birthday. Talk about the best present ever! Since there was so much to celebrate, I knew I wanted to make a special treat. The weather here has been insanely gorgeous and HOTGorgeous, warm weather = ice cream. That's just a fact of life.  

I have seen a lot of recipes for vegan ice cream out in the blogosphere but had never tried it myself until a few weeks ago. My husband and I got a new ice cream maker as a wedding gift last year and it has been something I have wanted to pull out and try for a while. I think the multiple polar vortex's we had this winter might have had something to do with the fact that I shunned all things cold for a solid 5 months.

A friend of mine, who shares a passion for plant based food, got together with me to experiment with some vegan ice creams a few weeks ago (more on that later!). Ever since then, I have been a little obsessed with making ice cream. It's just so easy! The only hard part is waiting for it to set. BUT, that doesn't mean you can't heavily taste test throughout the process. I mean, you probably need to make sure everything tastes just right....and sometimes that takes multiple spoonfuls to completely be sure. Better safe than sorry, I always say ;)

For this batch, I used this recipe by Ashley at Edible Perspective. Every recipe that I have made of hers is fabulous. If you haven't already, check it out! I followed the recipe exactly except I used 2 Tbsp of pure vanilla extract instead of the vanilla beans because I forgot to buy them at the store. Oops. The vanilla extract turned out great! Stay tuned for for some new, original ice cream recipes that I will be sharing with you in the near future! In the meantime...try this recipe. You won't regret it! And if it's your birthday....feel free to put a candle in it and make a wish. I wished for a fun-filled weekend with the people and I love and my wish came true :)

P.S. Here is a pic of my hubby and I from Friday night at dinner with my family. I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!