Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I scream, You scream, I made ice cream!

I'm totally digging this KitchenAid ice cream maker! Bought it at Bed Bath and Beyond with a 20% off coupon. Came to roughly $65, three trips for 6 people to Coldstone approx $57 plus gas to get there. Once we get our family cow buying milk will be a thing of the past and will futher minimize our cost on making this delicious treat!

I'm reminded by hubby that ice cream is not healthy. Yes, I get that. BUT (and ice cream does contribute to big butts) making it at home is not only fun but a better treat option, as the ingredients are fresh and there are no additives (well, unless you add them). I could also use over ripe fruit to make sorbets and can use this machine to make butter (again something we'll be doing when that cow gets here).

I use the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Book to make my base. I prefer sweet cream base #1 but they give you three to choose from so you can play around with background flavors and ingredients.

I make some of my own ice creams using ingredient lists from others I've had. The two that I've come up with are a mix between a Ben & Jerry's and a Coldstone flavor mix. I hope you enjoy!

Coffee Toffee Caramel Crunch

Start with sweet cream #1 base from the B&J ice cream book.

When you're mixing the base add in some instant coffee (I use decaf as ice cream is usually a before bed treat). I use the Nescafe Tasters Choice because it comes in 6 single cup packets and costs $1. This way you can add more or less coffee and easily save what isn't used or don't have a whole can left over when you're done. I make ice cream every 5-6 weeks so this makes sense for me as I don't drink decaf otherwise.

After, the now, coffee base has been put through the ice cream maker for about 25 min add in three heath bars (frozen and crushed up while in package works best) and a bunch of nuts. I prefer raw pecans but walnuts or almonds would be yummy too. Mix it up for a minute.

I use the Ikea 365 red lidded square containers to hold one batch of ice cream. They have see through lids which makes identifying ice cream flavors easy and are freezer and dishwasher safe. They're also fantastically affordable. Before you dump in the semi-firm ice cream add a drizzle of caramel over the top and swirl it into the ice cream as you scoop, this way you'll have ripples of caramel throughout instead of a part ofthe base flavor. Makes a difference, trust me.

Freeze for a few hours and enjoy!

Chocolate Covered Cherry

This is a little something close to Cherry Garcia but uniquely my own. I used to get the gang at Coldstone to make this for me but they discontinued carrying marichino cherries. Alas! What self respecting Ice Cream joint dosen't carry these iconic disturbingly red orbs?? They even have them in the ice cream accessory section at the grocery store and Target, making one believe that this is not just common but slated for use exclusively with ice cream! But, I digress, let's get back to making it ourselves, shall we?

Again, I started with B&J's sweet cream base #1. Just mix this up and run it through the machine for about 22-25 min. the firmer it is the more evenly distributed.

Drain a jar of cherries (the more cherries you drain, well, the more cherries in the ice cream unless your "helpers" are sneaking them) and chop 'em up (again the more you chop them, the more will be distributed. You like big chunks here and there, leave 'em more whole; some in every bite, chop 'em smaller.)

Add these (sometimes I also add the juice to give the base a cherry flavor) and a few handfuls of mini chocolate chips and let it whirl for a minute or so.

Then do the same thing with some chocolate syrup or fudge syrup as I explained in the other recipe above. Put it on top, "ripple" it while you transfer it by scooping to another container.

Yummy Yummy.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and are inspired to make your own ice cream at home! If you happen to try out any of the above, post a comment and let me know how it went!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Facebook and Twitter

Just incase ya'll can't get enough of me, I'm now on Twitter @uumom2many and facebook!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Todays happenings

A few days ago i noticed some critters taking up residency in my worm house. The worms were staying mostly on the bottom tier and black fly maggots and ants were taking up the middle and top tiers. I did some research and though the wormies didn't seem to be bothered by the ants or maggots I decided to evict them anyway. I took off the top 2 tiers and dumped the stuff in a bucket. Then spent the better part of an hour rescuing the worms from the compost. Fun stuff.

My girls "helped" by overseeing the project, naming the worms as they came out of the garbage and having me put worms in their gloved hands as they came out, pretending to be worm doctors. They did help me pick out the stray maggot that got mixed in with the worms so that was good. That being done we cleaned out the trays and put in new bedding and foods for them.

I ordered a few additional trays and coconut coir which should be here soon. I have a kitchen composter on my wish list for next payday so I won't have to run out everytime I have scraps. I think that was the issue i had with the maggots and ants; too much food scraps and not enough browns and greens. This way I can schedule time to properly add scraps to the bins when my inside bucket is full.

I also have a little family of really scary looking bugs eating my tomatos. The daddy at least flies which is kinda scary as he's almost 2" long and has a huge needle on his face which he sticks into the tomatos and makes yucky yellow spots on them. I'm not really interested to see if he'd use it on me. They just hatched a bunch of little red babies ugh. As much as I love babies I really don't care for bugs much, especially the harmful kind. I'm trying so hard with these plants this year (my first year) but I keep learning what NOT to do or what will go wrong.

After we came in we made lunch, I brewed my coffee for the week and am now making homemade ice cream in my kitchenaid ice cream maker. Coffee toffee caramel crunch (my own concoction; a decaf coffee cream base with Heath bars, raw pecan pieces and caramel swirl. Ok, so not totally healthy, but I'm not sure anyone has attributed health with ice cream. I do point out the fact that there are fewer chemicals in my mix and I do use light cream and fat free milk. This quart will last me a few weeks also. Ok, so enough justifying. I highly recommend Ben and Jerry's ice cream book. Not only does it tell you the how but the why of ice cream and sorbet making.

Today is also supposed to be bread baking day though I'm not sure if it'll get done as laundry day is screaming at me for attentions. Oh and bathroom cleaning day is also vying for my time.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Working on a new site and blog!

Well, i've finally got most of my stuff together and am working on setting up a new website and blog for our ongoing house and farm projects! Finally mostly, everything will be in one place.

www.fiveacreproject.com will be a free information site that will chronicle our efforts to becoming a sustainable small farm. We'll be featuring projects like solar powering, gray water recycling, gardening and harvesting, cooking, homeschooling, skoolie conversion, travelling, and lots more!

For now i'm going to still keep up with this blog as we make the transition to the new site :)