Thursday, July 7, 2011

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

I had to take a somewhat unappetizing picture so you all don't show up on my doorstep begging to help me eat it. :)

As I said in my last post, we had quite the crop of strawberries when we got back from our trip. And we still have a lot sitting in our fridge, and there are more that need to be picked. Our strawberry patch is about 20 feet long and three feet wide, so it isn't very big, but it has been producing like crazy, which is great, because we only got one strawberry last year. So we've been eating them, putting them in smoothies, and eating them some more. And every time Miss A and Mr. B are in the backyard they are eating more, right off the plants. But even with all the eating there are a ton that need to be used. Like in the next day or so. And I've had whipping cream and half and half sitting in my fridge since November (well, the sell by date was November somethenth). So, I did the sniff test (in case you were wondering, you just sniff to see if it smells sour, if it does, make tacos (kidding), if it doesn't smell sour, it's still good), determined both cartons were safe to use, and then decided to make strawberry ice cream. I have a KitchenAid ice cream maker, which I love, and since it's stored in the deep freezer in the garage, it's always ready to use.

And the recipe I used was pretty simple:
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream (or whipping cream, or half and half)
1 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups mashed fresh strawberries.

In a large bowl combine it all and mix. When mixed, pour into your ice cream freezer and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

Simple, I know! What I like about this recipe is that it can be used as a base for any other ice cream flavor simply by omitting the strawberries. We've made peppermint ice cream, root beer ice cream, M&M ice cream, and peach ice cream. And they were all pretty good, though I do recommend using fresh fruit, not frozen. Frozen peaches do not mix well at all. :)

So, I know you're wondering how it tastes. I can answer that. D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S. However, I am going to share it tomorrow at a playground committee BBQ. And if there's any leftover, I'm going to hide in a dark corner somewhere all by myself and eat it all gone.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Where did June go?

Wow, June was one busy month for us! I can't believe it went so fast. The first weekend of June we drove down to Utah, because our twin nieces got baptized. Miss A and Mr. B love their cousins, and we had a lot of fun just hanging out with them. Miss A is to the age where she can have a slumber party, so she got to sleep in the twins' bedroom. She's done that the past few times we've gone down for visits, and the girls all love it! Mr. B, however, has problems sleeping (still, and he's almost THREE!!!) so he has to get sequestered somewhere away from everyone else. This time it was in the office (well, it used to be the office, now it houses the twins' craft supplies to keep them away from little sister who is one). We have a PVC tent that we made for Mr. B that fits around his AeroKids bed (an air mattress with raised sides for kids). We call it his sensory deprivation chamber. It seems to work pretty well. So, first weekend in Utah, hanging out with the Joneses. Great fun. Then we came home, and Miss A had her first two weeks of swimming lessons for this summer. She loves swimming lessons! And once swimming lessons were out we headed to Illinois. We drove. From Idaho.

Are we crazy, you ask? Why yes, I think we are. Three full days of driving each direction. I think Mr. B took one nap on the way there and one on the way home. Miss A took zero naps. But we brought along plenty of diversions. iPad, iPhone, DVDs on the laptop, eight books, new coloring books (but I forgot the crayons, thank goodness I had two packs from Texas Roadhouse in my purse), the license plate game (we found all but five: Hawaii, North Dakota, South Carolina, Connecticut, and Vermont), BINGO, PEZ, and lots of snacks. Thankfully our kids are learning how to become good travelers. In the fifteen (yes, 15) days that we were gone, we went to 8 states and spent way too much time in our truck (thank you Chevrolet for making 2004 Silverados so roomy!). The worst parts of the vacation: ticks, chiggers, and humidity the first day in Illinois. The best parts: Going to the top of the Gateway Arch, Holiday World and Splashin' Safari, and Grant's Farm. And there were so many other great things too, like catching lightening bugs with my Aunt Karen, and the cutest nephew in the world. Seriously, he's so cute. And swimming at Karen's, and getting to see my cousins, and getting to know Jenny better, and of course, my cousin Brianne's wedding. One of the main reasons for going on this trip. Brianne and Blake are so awesome that they postponed their honeymoon so they could hang out with my sisters and me. We don't often get back "home" since it's so far away for all of us. Seriously Mom and Papa, when are you guys going to move here? We could all homestead together on a hundred or so acres here, with our own houses. Doesn't that sound like fun?

So, with all that going on, now we are already getting into the thick of July. This month is going to fly by too, and before I know it, school is going to be starting again. This month we have more swimming lessons, then a family reunion in Southern Utah (woohoo, more driving!) at the end of the month. Then more swimming lessons, then it will be time for school to start, then my babies will be turning five and three! Wow, time really does fly by. Six years ago yesterday I figured out my Dear liked me, and in under two months we will be celebrating our sixth anniversary. I can't believe it. Stay posted as I slowly post some pictures from our vacation.

Oh, and did I do anything crafty while I was gone? Yes, yes, I did. I made a set of wood blocks for Brianne's kitchen that say Eat. They are red, white, and black, and have a cute little white polar bear on one of them, because her kitchen has a Coca-Cola theme. Once I get a copy of the picture from my mom, I will post it. I couldn't use my camera because both batteries were dead by the end of our second day in Illinois, at the top of the Arch. And guess who didn't pack the battery charger? Yep, me. I guess back-up batteries don't hold a charge forever. :) Oh well. Lesson learned. Both batteries are now charged, and I will bring the charger on our trip to Southern Utah in a few weeks.