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Ice Cream – Heaven in a quart

“I’m sure they’ll be ice cream in heaven, and it’ll taste 100% times better, but while I’m still here on earth, I won’t deny thyself!”

Ice cream has always been one of my favorite deserts. I guess I would go as far as calling it a pastime because there are so many memories connected to this incredibly creamy, frozen delight. I definitely inherited this trait from my dad.  I actually remember acquiring a taste for it. We were living in Weston, Connecticut at the time. There was a little ice cream stand along the side of the road in Wilton, CT called Heibeck’s. It was only open during the summer back then, which made it even more desirable. It’s still there today. It is here that I acquired a taste for ice cream.

heibeck-s-stand

A little Ice Cream History
Ice cream has long been called the Great American Dessert. Although no specific date of origin or inventor has been credited with the discovery of ice cream, it’s origin reaches back to 200 BC. The discovery of iced drinks, and fruit flavored snow during the Roman Empire, was just the beginning. The traditional ice cream recipe evolved during the 16th century in Europe, and included a blend of milk, cream, butter and eggs.

Ice cream came to America in the 1700’s, and was considered an exotic dessert enjoyed by the elite. It didn’t become popular to the masses until the discovery of the insulated ice house in the late 1800’s. Ice cream production increased because of technological innovations, including steam power, mechanical refrigeration, the homogenizer, electric power and motors, packing machines, new freezing processes and equipment, and vehicles for delivery. (International Dairy Foods Assoc.)

Today total frozen dairy annual production in the United States is more than 1.6 billion gallons, and I’m a true supporter!

Making Ice Cream
So I continue to be a supporter of the ice cream industry, but today, because my husband purchased me an ice cream maker for Christmas, I make my own. I held off buying an ice cream maker for the obvious reasons. . . I already have enough junk in my trunk, but maybe I would be encouraged to make some healthy ice cream, gelato, and sorbet, right? Well, that hasn’t happened yet, but it’s not over until the “fat” lady sings (I’m not singing yet).

Breville

I use a Breville Ice Cream Maker. This fully automatic ice cream maker blends frozen desserts, from sorbet to ice cream to gelato, in your choice of consistency, from soft-serve style to hard pack, in less than an hour. It takes about 45 minutes for me to make ice cream from start to finish! The machine also keeps the ice cream cool if you’re not ready to eat it yet, and your guests are still polishing off your homemade BBQ dinner.

Since I got the ice cream maker, I have tried a few recipes using different ingredients. I have settled on a fairly simple recipe for the base of the ice cream. Although many ice cream recipes call for egg yolk, I didn’t like using eggs. Eggs bind the ice cream, and make it a chewy consistency. You also have to cook the base, and let it cool (too much time). Many recipes call for milk. Milk has too much water in it, making the ice cream icy as it sits in the freezer. So here is my recipe; not rocket science, but it makes a creamy, wonderfully consistent base.  This recipe base can be used for any ice cream maker.

Ice Cream Base Recipe
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk 14oz
2 cups Half and Half (or whipping cream)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp vanilla extract (or real vanilla bean)
Directions: Electric Mix extract with sweetened condensed milk. Add in Half and Half. Mix well with hand mixer. Add into Ice cream machine. Chill in air tight container for a few hours. Makes 1 Quart.

Using this base, I’m able to make flavored ice creams by adding the flavor of a specific ice cream to the sweetened condensed milk. Following are several other ice cream recipes showing how this is done.

Chocolate Ice Cream
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk 14oz
2 cups Half and Half (or whipping cream)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 Cup Hershey’s Coco Powder Special Dark
Directions: Electric Mix Coco well with condensed milk. Add in extract, and Half and Half. Mix well. Add into Ice cream machine. Chill in air tight container for a few hours. Makes 1 Quart.

Coffee Ice Cream
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk 14oz
2 cups Half and Half (or whipping cream)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp coffee extract
6 Tbsp. Instant Coffee (I use decaf)
Directions: Electric Mix Instant Coffee well with condensed milk. Add in extract, and Half and Half. Mix well. Add into Ice cream machine. Chill in air tight container for a few hours. Makes 1 Quart.

So there you have it. I’ll end with a few tips. Happy makin’. More ice cream recipe ideas on my Pinterest.

  • Store ice cream in an air tight safe container. Ice cream lasts 1-2 weeks
  • Lay plastic wrap over newly made ice cream before sealing
  • Store in the back of the freezer to avoid melting when door opens and closes
  • Avoid using ingredients with alot of water, ice cream will get icy
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New Beginnings

2015

I’m trying to get back on track with my blog. So much going on at the start of the new year. The holidays were wonderful as always spending time with family and friends.

I usually stay away from New Year’s resolutions, but I do try to make some specific goals to at least strive for during the year. Maybe if I write them down, and share them, you all will keep me accountable!

  • Grow my Graphic Design business – I’m now a member of BNI (Prosperity Partners). If you belong to a BNI chapter, shout it out at me!
  • Begin new ministry – I’m beginning a new ministry in Essential Oils. Visit my new website The Oily Girl to learn more about Essential Oils
  • Grow Essential Oil Blog
  • Study 3 books of the bible (maybe an online bible study)
  • Clean out closets and storage areas – It’s so time to rid myself of old items, especially since the kids are on their way out.
  • Achieve significant natural hair growth by May (one year anniversary)

Whew. . . I think that’s enough for now. I have other things I would like to achieve, but writing them down might be a little overwhelming.

Have you written down your goals for 2015? Share them, it might keep you accountable.

Downton Abbey is back!

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The last season episode of “Downton Abbey” always makes my stomach churn, and leaves my soul with a sense of emptiness. Oh how I miss those British accents, the spectacular scenery of the Downton mansion, and the peculiar ways that Downton is run and managed by its dedicated servants.

Every Sunday evening I sit in front of my large screen TV mesmerized, completely sucked back into the 19th century. At 10pm when the music plays at the end of the episode, I blink several times, slowly letting my eyes wander outside of the television view, and I breathe a sigh of disappointment that another episode is completed in the countdown.

“Downton Abbey” returns for Season 5 on Sunday, January 4th, 9pm ET. The year is 1924. Hello “Roaring Twenties!”

What a fabulous decade. A decade of great dramatic social and political change, which I’m sure will be very evident in this year’s “Downton Abbey” episodes. The “new” woman of the 20th century was called a “flapper”. Although most 20th century woman did not participate in the new found social ways of bobbing the hair, wearing short skirts, and publicly smoking and drinking, many of them gained significant freedoms.

The 19th Amendment allowed woman in the United States to vote in 1920. Jazz became the main genre of the music industry in the 20’s, bringing along with it the freedom to dance: the Charleston, the cake walk, the black bottom, the flea hop. White collar jobs became more available to women as economic growth swept the nation. New machines and technologies allowed more conveniences to woman in the home, and the sexual revolution took off with the increased availability of birth control.

Don’t forget to catch up on Season 4 episodes this week. In my British accent, “The Roaring 20’s” will make a great splash in Downton this season, looking forward to Sunday’s opening theme promptly at 9pm!”

Frankincense

frankincense

Ahhh Christmas. Its the time of year for giving, and a significant tradition that we as Christians hold dear to our hearts each year as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

The Wise men traveled a great distance from the East to bring gifts to the Baby Jesus. This Christ child must have been pretty important. We don’t know much about the wise men, we’re not even sure how many there were. Jesus was well over a year by the time they arrived.

Matthew 2:11 NIV
[11] On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Why bring such precious and valuable gifts to a baby? The wise men thought they were going to see a King, so they brought gifts of royalty, they did not know the savior of mankind would be a child. “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David” (Luke 1:32).

One of the precious gifts they bought from afar was Frankincense. It is considered the holy oil. The gift of frankincense given to the Christ Child symbolized His holiness. His willingness to freely and wholly give Himself up as a sacrifice for our sins.

Frankincense is the gum or resin from the Boswellia tree. It was a very expensive substance because it was collected in remote parts of Arabia, North Africa, and India. Today Frankincense essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the dry resin. Frankincense has a lemony, musky odor, and is used to help arthritis, asthma, depression, memory, inflammation, and skin disorders. Some studies suggest Frankincense may have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.

Click the link to find out more about how I use Frankincense essential oil or visit my website.

What Are Essential Oils?

Ess oils

I have a new category in my blog: Essential Oils. Read my Essential Oils page to find out more about my new interest.

An essential oil is the “oil of” the plant from which they were extracted. An oil is “essential” in the sense that it contains the “essence of” the plant’s fragrance–the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived. Essential oils contain the natural substance of the plant, and are used for therapeutic benefits. (Wikipedia)

Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation, often by using steam. Other processes include expression or solvent extraction. Many oils are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense and household cleaning products. Many times these oils have byproducts, and artificial substances added to them. Essential oils are not the same as perfumed or fragrant oils.

When using essential oils for health and wellness, it’s important to use therapeutic grade oils that are not adulterated. Adulterated oils contain synthetic chemicals or compounds. Adulterated oils may actually be harmful to our body, that’s why it’s important that when you buy essential oils, you purchase them from a known and trusted source. Buying essential oils on “Amazon” is not recommended. Amazon.com does not regulate the source of essential oils.

What is Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil?

I have done some research on this, and from what I’ve read, there is no official grading system to essential oils. Therapeutic grade just refers to the oils processing, meaning they have not been processed, diluted or manipulated in any way with solvents or other additives. They can also be used safely because they are in their natural form, free of fillers or artificial contaminants such as pesticides or other chemical residues.

What to look for in a quality Essential Oil?

Keep this in mind when looking for good quality essential oils: If the product’s fragrance is overbearing, it may contain synthetic chemical substitutes. A pure therapeutic-grade essential oil should have a balanced, broad fragrance profile and should smell clean., not potent.  A pure essential oil should not feel slick, thick or oily but rather absorb cleanly and completely into your skin. It should not leave an oily residue.

I’m excited about this new journey, and want to share with you what I find. I will be posting more about Essential Oils and their specific uses in heath and wellness, and how I use them each day, so check back.

 

 

 

Holiday Movie Guide 2014

There are so many memories, and traditions that we all celebrate during the holiday season, and one of my favorite pastime is watching Holiday TV Movies! Here is a great link to this year’s Holiday TV Guide 2014 and some of my favorite Holiday movie clips.

California Seasons

Photo Jul 06, 8 01 26 PM

After living here in Southern California for over 20 years, I think I finally got the seasons down.

Most people don’t think we have seasons, but we do, they’re just very subtle, but there are some definite signs that I look for as the seasons change.

Our traditional summer really begins in August. It becomes very hot, sometimes reaching over 100 degrees during the day. We are fortunate that it cools off to at least the 70s in the evening. We’ve got that desert thing going on (desert climate is scorching during the day, but freezing at night) so it’s bearable at night! It stays pretty warm through September, and sometimes October.

Although the days stay hot in October, the temperature begins to drop more at night, those little arachnids build their webs in the trees at dusk, and the leaves begin to change color, a sign for me that Fall is fast approaching. By the time we change the clocks back in November, the leaves have begun to show their red and yellow. Yes leaves do change color in California.

As the days grow shorter in November, the day temperature and evening temperatures become closer, and the leaves begin to fall. Mornings are now easily 40 degrees, and crisp, but never a sign of snow in the forecast.

The trees are bare in December, and the rainy season begins in January, but it rarely rains during the day here. The clouds role in at dusk, bringing breathtaking sunsets, and while we sleep, it rains. We wake to wet concrete,and damp air in the morning that quickly dries with the day temperature reaching at lease 68 most days.

Spring brings the fog in the morning, rain has ceased if there was any, and the day and night temperatures become close again. The buds on the trees begin to show, and jasmine fills the air. You haven’t experienced Spring until you smell fresh Jasmine, it’s a glorious smell.

Fog has completely enveloped the morning skies by June, not getting sunny sometimes until late afternoon. I used to hate not seeing the sun right away, but it keeps the day cooler, and I now look forward to coolness of June mornings.

The fog burns off earlier and earlier as July approaches, and those sunny southern California days and manageable nights are back again.

The seasons are vague here, and if you let life get too busy, they can pass you by. So I tune my body to feel the warmth, and the coolness and the moisture, and the dryness, and I never miss the opportunity to breathe in the sweet jasmine of Spring.

I love Cali, I wouldn’t change a thing!