Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Peanut Butter (sort of healthy) Ice Cream


In my continuing efforts to eat only ice cream this summer...

Forget the chocolate milk. You ready to up your post workout recovery, uh, "drink" game? Of course you are.

Because this is ice cream.

That you can feel kind of sort of good about eating. It's mostly milk and peanut butter. And, yes, I did eat some after my workout today. And, no, I did not regret it. And, even though I'm being a wee bit facetious with the whole ice cream recovery drink thing--you can for real drink this and it really will help you recover. It's full of tons of protein, a little fat, and some sugar (so much less sugar and cream than regular ice cream, though). It wins over Gatorade by, like, 10 million percent.

It's also delightfully cheap for something with delightfully real ingredients.

I've made several changes to the original recipe that make this easier, quicker, and creamier. If you have a cheap-o ice cream maker like me, this will come out more like a soft serve or milk shake. you can freeze it overnight, or eat it quickly (you can guess which option I chose...).

Happy Summer!!!

Peanut Butter (sort of healthy) Ice Cream
makes 1 quart
Prep time: 5 minutes 
Mix time: 20 minutes
Cost: $2.00 (or $.50/ 1 C serving)
milk: .40, cream: .25, peanut butter: .50, sugar: .15, vanilla: .15, chocolate chips: .55

Note: You can also use 2 1/4 C milk and 3/4 C cream

2 1/2 C milk (we used 2 %)

1/2 C cream
1/2 C creamy peanut butter
6 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2-1 C chocolate chips, optional

Combine milk, cream, peanut butter, brown sugar, and vanilla in a blender. Blend. Alternately, you can just give it a good solid whisk--you want to be sure you incorporate the peanut butter thoroughly. 

Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the instructions. (If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can freeze this into ice cubes and then blend it up the next day.) 

When it's done, top or mix in chocolate chips. If you need that dark chocolate for health reasons of course. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Homemade Hummingbird Nectar


Most of my recipes are for people food. But I have a few non-food recipes that are worth knowing about. This is one.

Hummingbirds are really amazing animals. They're fast, small, and exotic-seeming, although hummingbirds of some variety are found in most parts of the country. If you have a feeder or several, you'll find that they're fairly brave animals as well. I guess that's what happens when you're super speedy. We used to have several feeders and they'd zoom right past us--just over our heads and in front of our faces. It's almost frightening actually what with those long pointy beaks they've got. Sometimes they'll even battle over a feeder using their beaks like swords (I'm totally not kidding; it's crazy.) We bird-watchers--we have some pretty wild times.

I knew it was time to get the feeders out when I saw a hummingbird trying to feed off of my red watering can (and just about any other brightly colored thing on the deck). Unfortunately, our feeders had met an unfortunate end in the dishwasher at the end of last season (Note: Do not, I repeat do NOT put your cheap plastic hummingbird feeders in the dishwasher--top or bottom shelf.) So I hopped on over to my spending Achilles heel: Rural King. They had plenty of feeders to choose from and next to all the feeders, they had that hummingbird nectar that they sell. It usually looks like orange or red syrup. And it costs a lot (I believe these were $4.99 a pop). I saw a lady standing there in front of the "nectar," reading a box. And I really really really wanted to stop her and tell her she didn't have to buy that expensive colored corn syrup and that she could make her own for super cheap. But then I was worried that that would be weird or creepy. Especially since I'd gone to Rural King dressed, as usual, in my best (cough) yard work clothes.

To make up for it, I will stop you. Do not buy that silly hummingbird nectar. Make you own. My mother-in-law--an avid bird lover/watcher--gave me this recipe for hummingbird nectar. It has worked for us for years. Super easy. Super cheap. I can hear the hummingbirds whizzing now.

Homemade Hummingbird Nectar
Prep time: 1 minute
Cost: $.05 for 1 cup (that's opposed to nearly $5.00 for not much more than a cup)

1 part white granulated sugar
4 parts water

Mix it up. I allow the sugar to dissolve. Pour into your hummingbird feeder. And they will come. (Um, probably--like, if you've got them in your area and all.) It can remain good for a few weeks (if the hummingbirds don't gobble it up), but if the nectar gets foggy, change it out and clean your feeder (not in the dishwasher) because something has likely contaminated the nectar.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Citrus Gelato--No Ice Cream Maker Required


It's summer! Well, pretty close anyway. Around here, it's been hot. When it's hot I crave ice cream. I know that some people crave ice cream all the time, but I really only crave it when my bones are melting. So pretty much all summer.

What I love about this ice cream is that it can be made without an ice cream maker, and that you can use any old citrus fruits you have sitting around. We've made it with lemon, lime, grapefruit, and a combination. And it is SO SO good. Using the citrus fruits just makes it incredibly refreshing. I'm seriously having to force myself to keep typing and not go make more RIGHT NOW. It's so good, I like to pretend it's completely healthy by focusing on the 1/4 C of fruit juice and forgetting about the cup of sugar and two cups of cream. Because, yeah, all that fruit juice--I'm basically consuming a smoothie, right? I said, riigghht...

Below you'll find my original post and some tips for variations. Enjoy!

Have you had enough of virtuous drinks and ugly vegetables?

Good. Because I think there's still just enough summer left to squeeze in more ice cream, don't you?

This treat was inspired by a grapefruit gelato posted on apronstrings. It was the best frozen treat I've had all summer (and I have had, um, a few). I figured it would work with other citrus as well. And boy, did it ever.

In addition to tasting amazing, this ice cream requires no ice cream maker and takes a whopping 7 minutes to whip up (although for purposes of full disclosure, I should mention, it takes 4-8 hours to freeze). Seriously, it's so good, so easy, and all natural. And if you want more virtue in your ice cream, hear this: Before we went away on our trip, we had 1/2 lemon, 1/2 lime, and some cream. So you see, I had to make this ice cream, because otherwise, those things would have gone bad. And we all know that's a sin, right? Amen and amen.

Lemon-Lime Gelato
adapted from apronstrings
Serves 6 (or 4 or 2 or maybe just you because, really, who's counting)
Prep time: 7 minutes
Cost: $2.15
(1/2 lemon: .20, 1/2 lime: .15, cream: 1.50, milk: .10, sugar: .20)

Note: This recipe requires regular whipping cream--as in, not heavy whipping cream. You're shooting for 25-30% milkfat, so it's not too icy and not too much like whipped cream. Here in Evansville we apparently like our creams on the heavy side. The only non-heavy cream I found was still one at 36% milkfat. So for this recipe, I combined 1 1/2 C heavy whipping cream with 1/2 C whole milk (though other milk would probably work too). For the grapefruit version, I used 1 3/4 C of the 36% milkfat cream and 1/4 C whole milk. Both worked well.

1/2 lemon
1/2 lime
1 C sugar
2 C non-heavy whipping cream (see note above)

Juice the lemon and lime. You should end up with about 1/4 C juice. Then zest the lemon and lime.

Pour cream, sugar, juices, and zests into into an 8x8 inch pan. Mix it up. I used a flat whisk and mixed it till the sugar was incorporated enough that it didn't sit in a big lump on the bottom. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze for 8 hours. (If you'd like this ice cream faster than that--and who wouldn't--put it in a larger pan so it's spread thinner.


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