Sunday, July 24, 2016
Here we are at the end of July already. A few weeks ago, Mr. Vittles and I were sitting out on the deck, enjoying some toasted marshmallows around the chimnea after the kiddos went to bed.
At one point, some neighborhood kids went flying by on their bikes, laughing and seemingly having the time of their lives.
It made me nostalgic for my own childhood, when summer meant something entirely different. "Remember when we were kids and summer was awesome?" I said aloud.
My husband replied "Yup. Now it's just hot."
And really, that's so true. At some point, summer loses its magic and becomes more of a pain than a wonder. Sure you get to go to the pool or beach and do things like eat outside. But for the most part, you just have to do all the same stuff you do all year, except now you get to sweat while you do it.
But that line of thinking got me wondering if maybe I needed to take a breather from 'adulting' once in a while, and enjoy summer like a kid again.
So one beautiful afternoon, while The Minion napped, The Mini and I blew bubbles and played in the treehouse. We laid down in the grass for what seemed like ages just looking up at the clouds through the trees. And it was wonderful.
The Minion turned one last month and got lots of fun outside gifts like a pirate ship water table, a balance bike, and a whale sprinkler - so we've been having lots of fun with those.
Then this week, I decided to show the Mini how we could made ice cream the old-fashioned way, with rock salt, ice, and some elbow grease. But I always see recipes for vanilla, and while that's nice and traditional, I wanted to try something different.
Mini is all about the baking experimentation, so that was fine with her. We got the "gredients" (as she calls them) at the store, to try a peanut butter version. I have always been intrigued by the peanut butter powder I seem to see everywhere now, and I figured this would be the perfect application. We also bought a huge sleeve of peanut butter cups, and Mini was coveting them like a pirate hoarding buried treasure.
"These are all for me, right?"
"No. They are for everyone. We have to share."
Immediate tears. "But I want ALL of them!"
Boy, do I know that feeling. Peanut butter cups are pretty much the best thing ever. I convinced her to let me cut one up for our ice cream, then we took turns shaking our concoction. By 'taking turns' I mean I did about 95% of the shaking.... and I must say, it came out great.
It was a pretty hot day, and this does melt more quickly than store-bought ice cream, so we had to eat super fast - but she didn't seem to mind!
As it turns out, I still got to enjoy some vanilla yesterday, when my nephew Holt came over to play. The Mini was on a road trip with her dad to go see my brother-in-law compete in an Ironman triathlon (go Uncle Nick!), so it was just Holt and I with the Minion.
I let Holt pick between the two flavors, and he is apparently more of a traditionalist. He is also a much more jovial shaker...
...although despite his enthusiasm, the length of my 'turn' was only reduced by approximately 5% in comparison to my first session, haha! (Needless to say, every kid wants to shake until they try it for about 10 seconds, so get your 'guns' out for this one.) But our ice cream came out just as good, and vanilla is the perfect canvass for lots of sprinkles! Yum.
Happy summer, y'all!
Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
1/2 C. half and half
1 T. sugar
1 T. + 1 t. peanut butter powder, such as PB2 (I found it at Walmart, in the peanut butter section)
1 large Reese's peanut butter cup, cut into small pieces
1/8 t. vanilla extract
1 large & 1 small ziploc bag
lots of ice
1/2 C. rock salt (such as Morton's ice cream salt, I found it at Walmart in the salt section)
Combine all ice cream ingredients (half & half thru vanilla extract) in a sandwich or quart-sized ziploc bag. (I would recommend first placing the bag over a cup or bowl to stabilize it, before you add the ingredients). Seal bag tightly & set aside.
Next, fill a large, gallon-sized ziploc bag about halfway with ice. Add rock salt and shake to distribute. Nestle small bag inside the large bag, so that it is surrounded by ice cubes. Then seal large bag, and shake consistently anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, or until the ice cream mixture thickens to desired consistency. Make sure the small bag stays surrounded by ice as much as possible. Serve and eat immediately.
Makes 1 to 2 servings (depending on the size of your consumer(s)!)
*Helpful hints: The shaking part can get quite messy as the ice melts, and the large bag may start to leak, so I definitely recommend doing the shaking outside. I also recommend setting out your serving bowl(s) before you make the ice cream, so you can empty it out and start eating right away- it does melt fairly quickly. (Or maybe I'm just too impatient and I don't shake it long enough, ha!) You can also experiment with more or less peanut butter and/or peanut butter cups to your taste. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Food.com