Monday’s Mixture

Another not so beautiful summer weekend, but we were busy.  The overcast, dreary with the occasional rain shower days did not damper our plans.  We were lucky since our weekend revolved around two outside sporting events and a pool party.   The rain was limited and not the washout that was forecast.  We did enjoy some time indoors as well.  We had a family movie with a sweet mixture for an afternoon snack.IMG_3697

1. What We Are Eating (August 3 – August 9)

Well this was not a typical week in our household by any means.  In fact our schedule was so busy that we had dinner on the go a couple of nights which meant I really did not cook this week, and when I did I was just off.  We all have those weeks and not every meal or recipe can be a success.  I guess you could say the lazy days of summer finally hit or maybe we are gearing up for the busy fall already.

Sunday – Appetizer Style Meal and Fruit (cheese, crackers, olives, etc.)

Monday – Cheese Tortellini with grilled Zucchini & spinach in a Ricotta Cream Sauce

Tuesday – Salad with Grilled Salmon

Wednesday – Pizza Bagel and Salad, and Chocolate Molten Cakes

Thursday – Mac & Cheese

Friday – Turkey, Cheese, & Spinach Sandwiches on the go

Saturday – Queen City Q @ baseball game

2. Food Trucks – In the past few years a number of food trucks have surfaced in our area.  The movement got my interest as I am always up for trying new food establishments and I enjoy supporting local.  FoodTruck Friday is one of the areas ways of bringing different trucks together for people to try.  This started over a year ago, but we just never seemed to get around to making it.  This summer a new location of food trucks popped up on Wednesdays for lunch.  Half the distance and near Mr. Mixtures office.  I have now visited the food truck rally twice, sampling different food each time. Southpark Eats Alternative, as the rally is called has a different line up of trucks each week.  There are tall bistro tables and tents set up to enjoy your food.

Our lunch this past Wednesday came from Bleu Barn Bistro a truck that specializes in local ingredients and provides a list of area farms and purveyors that are being incorporated into the daily menu.  We enjoyed the Pork Belly tacos with Watermelon Salsa and the Farm House Burger, a grass fed burger with pineapple and chipolte aioli.

3. Go Panthers – 17 years ago I attended a preseason game with Mr. Mixture.  It ended up being a first date.  The weather held out this past Friday and we had a family date night to celebrate.  The stadium has recently gotten some upgrades including these.  Not sure how I feel about this as it definitely feeds into the we are a lazy society idea.

4.  Summer Camp – While most sleep away camps are in the final stretch this week, I am still enjoying reading articles about the cost of camps, visiting day, the required uniforms, and the entire process.  In my reading I have learned that camp is a small fortune or is it a bargain?  I guess it is all in how you look at it.  Be sure to check out the comments on this as well.  See for yourself www.money.cnn.  I am thinking of asking my parents to send me to camp next summer.

5. Have you tried these for dessert?the-palm-charlotte-doughnuts2_thumb

I am borrowing this photo from a local blogger who reviewed The Palm, and I have to agree with ferventfoodie.com these doughnuts are worth the trip to Palm alone.  That is exactly what we did this past Saturday.  After an evening at the ballpark, we headed to The Palm to end the day on a sweet note.  These cinnamon sugar doughnuts hit the spot.  Thank you ferventfoodie.com for having a picture as I was so excited to have these doughnuts again that I forgot to capture the moment.

Happy 100th Blog Post to me!!!!  Have a great week and look out for some great summer recipes.

 

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No Bake Cherry Vanilla Cheesecake Ice Cream

Happy National Ice Cream Month!  I have a weakness for good ice cream.  It is no secret I will happily allow ice cream or a milkshake to replace a meal.  However here it is national ice cream month and not only have I had very little ice cream, but the cool July temperatures have deterred me a little from making it.  Don’t get me wrong I eat ice cream any time of year, but when it comes to making it I seem to only get in the mood when it is a nice sunny day outside.  Recently we have not had many of those.  In fact as I am typing this post, I am not sure our family activity for today will occur as it is a comfortable 60 degrees, but it is raining.  Yes 60 degrees in the middle of July you know what that means.  Mrs. Mixture will not be swimming anytime soon.
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I am not going to allow it to rain on our family fun.  One of our  summer bucket list items was to make homemade ice cream.  Well it seems I have done this twice now with fruity flavors.  I am guessing my chocolate loving family is going to have something to say about the next batch we make.

In the meantime, this ice cream is not your typical cheesecake ice cream.  In fact, I purposefully made the cheesecake flavor very mild in hopes that the family would enjoy it.  Mr. Mixture does not like fruity desserts, nor does he like cheesecake.  I know. What is wrong with the man?  He is a chocolate dessert kind of person though on occasion he can surprise me with his enjoyment of random desserts.  Truth is I also made the cheesecake flavor mild, because 4 oz is what I had in the refrigerator when the idea of the ice cream first came to me.

 

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Cherry Vanilla Cheesecake Ice Cream

2 cup Heavy Cream

1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

4 oz. Cream Cheese

1/2 cup Skim Milk

4 Tbsp. Sugar

1 recipe of Graham Cracker Crust, crumbled

1 recipe of Homemade Cherry Sauce

Directions

Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature.  Once at room temperature  Beat cream cheese to whipped consistency adding vanilla extract.  Once combined add heavy cream and milk lightly beat so as to combine, but not make whipped cream.  Lastly add sugar and mix in.  Then pour cream cheese mixture into ice cream maker and proceed as per ice cream machine manufacturers directions.

Once the cream is ready add the crumbled graham cracker crust and the cherry sauce.  Allow to mix into ice cream.  For soft serve consistency ice cream, enjoy immediately.  For hard ice cream.  Transfer to freezer ( either in ice cream maker bowl or transfer to a freezer safe container) and allow to freeze for 4 hours.

If you prefer a more distant cheesecake flavor, I recommend using 6 oz. cream cheese.

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Graham Cracker Crust

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs.

1 1/2 Tbsp, melted butter

1 1/2 Tbsp sugar

Combine crumbs and sugar in a bowl.  Pour melted butter over and blend well.  Pack mixture into the bowl / oven safe container depending on preparation method,  and refrigerate for 45 minutes to 1 hour or in oven safe container bake for about 6 minutes at 350 degrees.  If using oven method allow to cool before proceeding.  Once graham cracker crust is ready, crumble and add to ice cream.

This ice cream is not overly sweet either which I like.  Using a fresh cherry made into a sauce rather than the over processed cherry pie filling type cherry flavor allows for a simple refreshing type of cream rather than a super sweet ice cream.  Try it.  See what you think.  To jazz it up a little you could always toss some chocolate chips on top or chocolate sauce when serving it.

Happy National Ice Cream Month!!!!!!

Homemade Cherry Sauce

Well I just keep playing around with the cherries.  I think I am doing this partly because I stocked up and as it seems Little Miss Mixture has been into other fruits this week.  I am not complaining, but remember I had three bags of cherries.  One of our staple breakfast items is a homemade yogurt parfait.  These parfaits are often as simple as yogurt in a bowl topped with a couple strawberry slices and granola.  Other times as they are more like this. Using a homemade fruit sauce, some fresh fruit, and granola nicely layered for all of us to enjoy.  This was our breakfast on the 4th of July.  It consisted of plain greek yogurt, layered with strawberry sauce, blueberries, and granola.  It was a perfectly balanced red, white, and blue meal. IMG_3312   I am the early riser in the house.  Well actually the earliest riser is the dog, who seems to have taken a liking to the six o’clock hour.  Regardless once I am up I am up, so it is just easier to oblige the dog and let her out to play than to listen to her whine.  Besides I have always enjoyed the quiet of the house as a way to start my day – coffee in hand of course.  Since it is summer this is when most of my best writing takes place as it is almost like I have the house to myself. I find I ponder things to make during this time as well, especially on the weekends when I am waiting on others to wake for breakfast.  This past Friday morning Little Miss Mixture was catching up on some much needed sleep and I had several hours to myself.  So, I began to create something with the cherries.  I was not sure when I started what I would use it for, but it occurred to me they would make a great sauce. I saw this recipe and thought about making it.  Until I realized I was missing enough almond butter or sun butter and I make enough things with peanut butter.  I have also wanted to try making an ice cream such as this or this as both sound really good. So being who I am I started tossing things together and came up with this. DSC_0362 Homemade Cherry Sauce/ Topping

1 1/2 Cup Cherries

1/3 cup Maple Syrup

2 Tbsp. Water

Please note the measurements are estimates and could be altered to fit personal flavor. In a small saucepan over medium high heat add all ingredients.  Stir and using a spoon cut the fruit (cherries) in to pieces so as to release the juice in the saucepan. Continue cooking until a rapid boil.  Lower temperature slightly and continue to boil at a slow rate, stirring frequently until the fruit (cherries) and sauce combine and the sauce thickens. * This is the basic recipe I use for making any fruit sauce.  It is simple and uses natural ingredients. Homemade Fruit Sauce has a number of uses such as in a yogurt parfait, in a milkshake, atop a bowl of ice cream, atop pancakes or waffles, or as part of a recipe such as this. IMG_3420IMG_3262DSC_0360

Strawberry Ricotta Ice Cream

IMG_3102I hate to see good food go to waste. Now this is not to say that I clean my plate or overeat. I am really referring to partial items sitting in the refrigerator or pantry that get forgotten about. How often do you buy an ingredient for a recipe and actually use the entire container? I seem to always have extra ricotta cheese.
I have only recently discovered ricotta cheese and its versatility. This new found love pulls me to pick up a container just to have since I seem to be able to use it in a lot of last minute dinners – pizza, pasta, etc. However there are two situations that occur. I forget I have it and then I must try and get it used before the expiration date, or I use a partially container and then I need to find another use so as not to waste the cheese.
I have found a great many random things to make none of which I would classify as a recipe. Need an afternoon snack – try mixing ricotta cheese, with some peanut butter and cocoa and dipping apple slices or graham crackers in it. A recent breakfast consist of a heaping tablespoon of Chocolate Peanut Butter – really how can you go wrong mixed with about 3 Tbsp of Ricotta and a handful of dried cherries mixed with chocolate peanut butter.  Almost indulgent and yet it so satisfying and healthy.
Prior to traveling I always clean out the refrigerator whether it is a weekend away or several weeks away. I hate coming home to find surprises lurking in containers. In doing so recently I needed to use up just under 1/2 a container of ricotta. The catch I was not hungry and we had other food that was going to be consumed for dinner before we headed out the next morning.
Having recently made some ice cream and realizing I had a small amount of cream and milk leftover from that, I decided ice cream would be the perfect way to use the cheese and save it for consumption at a later date. This is the first time I have created an ice cream completely on my own and I was pleasantly surprised it came out great.  In fact it was much creamier than the s’mores ice cream which was a more traditional homemade ice cream flavor.

Strawberry Ricotta Ice Cream
1 1/2 Quarts

3/4 cup Ricotta Cheese (this is approximate as I used what was left in the container.)

1/3 cup Heavy Cream

1 Cup 1% Milk (you could use milk of choice, but this was sitting in our refrigerator)

3/4 cup chopped Fresh strawberries

1/3 cup sugar

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Puree the mixture.  Pour into ice cream maker and make according to instructions.  It took about 20 minutes for my batch to become a nice soft serve consistency.

Printable Recipe and Nutrition Info found here.

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Little Miss Mixture is generally open minded with things, but she was very hesitant to try the ice cream after finding out I made it with Ricotta cheese.  After she took a small bite, I think her hesitation was gone as she immediately requested more.  It past her test.  Now I am thinking peach season is upon us and you could easily substitute peaches for an excellent summer ice cream.

Rum Balls

Every now and then you need a grown up type of dessert.  Just a bite of something that mixes sweet and saucy.  Rum balls are that for me.  They are that one bite wonder that you can never eat just one of.  I am not someone who drinks rum, or at least very often.  There may be a couple of drinks I enjoy most likely with a little umbrella in them while I relax on the beach or poolside, but I am not likely to mix something up. However each time I have a rum ball or a rum cordial there is a taste or that little burn that I enjoy.  Maybe if there was a chocolate rum drink I would take the time to make it.

This recipe could not be easier and it is great for parties and get togethers.

All you need is stale brownies.  WHAT! I know what you are thinking who has stale brownies.  No one in their right mind, but the key is make a double batch of brownies.  That way you can enjoy some and have ample to make your rum balls ahead of time.

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Rum Balls

Ingredients

8oz stale brownies, crumbled

3oz. dark rum

4oz. dark chocolate, chopped

Directions

  1. In a medium size mixing bowl, pour rum over the crumbled brownies and allow to soak for 2 minutes.
  2. Scoop mixture with a teaspoon onto a wax paper lined baking sheet or plate. Place in the freezer for about 20 minutes to firm up.
  3. Remove from freezer and roll into smooth balls approximately 1 inch in size.
  4. Return to freezer to set.
  5. Melt 4oz chocolate in a double boiler or using the microwave method. Remove brownie balls from freezer and gently roll them around in the melted chocolate to coat completely. As you roll each one place it on a baking sheet or plate with a clean piece of wax paper or parchment paper.
  6. The chocolate will firm up on its own but you can place the baking sheet or plate in the refrigerator to set more quickly.
  7. When ready to serve set out and dust the tops with cooca powder or powder sugar for a pretty display.

These are a great make ahead as you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3- 5 days or freezer for up to 3 months.

Adapted from a recipe found on allrecipes.com

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