Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ice Cream Bread

Ice Cream Bread

Ice Cream Bread

 

When I think of fun ideas to do with my grandchildren, this is one of them.  They are always so surprised to take 2 ingredients and turn it into something like flavored bread.  This recipe is included in the book   Southern Living 1,001 Ways to Cook Southern: The Ultimate Treasury of Southern Classics .  I was fortunate to find a used copy of it at Amazon for a fair price.  It has turned out to be one of my favorite cook books.

This recipe is so easy I can’t believe it.  Ice cream only slightly flavors the bread, but the excitement for the kids when it is done is a good feeling.  Hope you try it.

 

The recipe calls for self rising flour.  I don’t like to keep a lot of different flours in my kitchen as it takes too long to use them up.  And, if you have ever experienced bugs in your flour, you will know what I mean.  It is easy enough to make your own self-rising flour with this recipe:

1 cup all purpose flour 
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt

 

I will usually make about 2 cups at a time if I am only going to need 1 cup.

 

Back to the Ice Cream Bread

 

1  8×4 loaf pan sprayed and floured or lined with parchment paper

preheat oven to 350 degrees

2 scoops any flavor softened  ice cream

1 1/2 cups self rising flour

 

Mix the flour and softened ice cream until combined

Scoop into the pan and smooth out

Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs

Let cool and enjoy

This is NOT meant to be anything but tasteful, so don’t even try using anything except full fat ice cream!

 

 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Great Tomato Recipe Ideas

Tomato Recipes

Great Tomato Recipes

 

There are no words to describe a fresh picked tomato from your own garden.  Well, maybe super-delicious. Laying out fresh cut slices on a plate as a side dish for a summer lunch is a favorites of mine. No salt;  no balsamic, mozzarella and basil; no sugar; just fresh tomato taste. The taste truly is super-delicious. After enjoying the first fresh picked tomatoes, I’m usually looking for a great recipe for all of the remaining tomatoes. I don’t think you can go wrong with any these quick recipes.

 

 

Tomato Caprese Salad

While I said that I prefer a plain tomato slice on a plate, a fresh tomato caprese salad is an excellent choice as an appetizer any time. Ingredients are simply a whole fresh tomato (two if you want to put together a larger plate), fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, balsamic vinegar. You can prepare a plate of this wonderful salad by simply laying out slices of tomato on a plate.  Then in order, place a thin slice of mozzarella on each tomato slice followed by a full basil leaf. Finish the recipe out with a small drizzling of balsamic vinegar on each stack. Some people like to put a bit of balsamic on the plate that can soak the bottoms of each tomato, but I have found that sometimes a smaller amount of balsamic is just as tasty.

 

 

Guacamole

So tomatoes are not the main ingredient in a good guacamole. A large fresh tomato though can really jazz up your guacamole. Also, despite kind of a preconceived notion that guacamole is best bought pre-made or in a Mexican restaurant, guacamole is very simple to make and tastes so much better fresh.  You can make a tasty guacamole with 2 whole avocados, a fresh tomato (chopped), half a lime, a quarter cup of chopped/diced red onion, several fresh cilantro sprigs, some sea salt and a little fresh ground pepper. Start by halving the avocados and removing the pit, then scooping the insides in to a medium mixing bowl and mashing some. Add the tomato and onion — some will prefer diced, I prefer chopped — then squeeze in the juice from your lime. Dice and add the cilantro. Mix the ingredients together until you get the consistency you prefer. Finish the dip out by adding salt and pepper to your taste. The great part about fresh guacamole is that you can alter the ingredients to get the texture and taste that you prefer.  Feel free to add fresh peppers to get the taste you like (from jalapeno to habenero).  Enjoy!

 

 

Tomato Soup

I would obviously offend many people if I left out fresh tomato soup.  Like the guacamole recipe, you can alter the mixture and preparation of ingredients to get to that perfect flavor and texture you want.  Here is a personal favorite preparation of mine. The ingredients are 3 to 4 fresh tomatos chopped/diced, 1/4 cup diced red onion, 4 cloves, 2 cups of vegetable broth, 2 tablespoons butter, salt, pepper, and sugar. To prepare, combine broth, red onion, cloves, and most of the tomatoes in a pot and gently boil for 20 minutes. You can put all of the tomatoes in, but I prefer to reserve about a quarter of the fresh tomatoes for later. Remove the mixture from heat, and then when cooled enough to handle, run it through a food mill in to a large bowl, discarding the bits and pieces left in the food mill. In your empty pot, melt the butter and add in the reserved tomatoes — turning well and heating through.  Pour back in the mixture from the large bowl, bring to a slight boil, then lightly simmer for 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and/or sugar to taste. I prefer my tomato soup not be sweet, so I don’t typically add sugar. If you like your tomato soup to be more creamy, you can include all of your tomatoes in the first step.  You can also whisk in a tablespoon or two of flour while melting the butter (be sure to not let it get lumpy).

 

 

There are obviously tons of fresh tomato recipes. I encourage you to seek out new ideas for preparing your fresh tomatoes.  I should also note that even if you do not have a garden to pick fresh tomatoes, there are literally thousands of farmer’s markets and roadside vegetable stands that have fresh tomatoes for you.  Tomatoes are the perfect “Buy Local” product as nothing beats the taste straight from the plant!

 

 

Kent Allen has run FoodClassics.com for nearly a decade. At FoodClassic, you can find great recipes, food tips, book reviews and even deals on kitchen products.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fun for Kids at Picnics and Barbeques

Picnic Fun for Kids

Picnic Fun For Kids

Want to have a good time at the next family, friend barbeque?  Before you plan the food menu, before making your grocery shopping, before making your potato salad, plan on something to keep the kids busy.  Planning fun things for the kids will almost always ensure the adults have a good time.

 

Kids like simple meals.  Fortunately you can plan a kid friendly meal and still W-O-W  your adult guests with your great grilled steak or chicken.

 

Hot dogs and hamburgers are good choices for kids.  Also consider pre-making some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or bologna sandwiches.  Most kids love these and you aren’t taking space up on the grill.  Chips, veggies, and  fruit just about always make kids happy.   For dessert pre make a couple batches of cookies and all the kids food can be ready the night before.  This saves you precious time and patience the day of the barbeque.  See?  Keep the kids happy and you will be happier.

 

Watching the kids should not fall upon one person’s shoulders.  Divide the time between the adults.  If children know that an adult is going to be supervising the whole picnic, you will get better behaved children.  Better behaved child will make happier adults.  So, make a list of who will be kid watching at what different times.  Try to stick to this list, or you will be cooking, cleaning up, and trying to find where little Johnny is (or isn’t).

 

Taking the idea of “assigning” times for kid watching is also very helpful with other aspects of your picnic or barbeque.  When an event just falls on the mom or dad burn out occurs and you just don’t enjoy your time as your guests do.  This is not fair, and keeps a lot of parents from planning more outings with the family and friends.  Share everything. 

 

Do not to hesitate to  ask everyone to bring something.  A bag of chips from Uncle Craig who can’t cook,  some fruit drinks from Michael would be a good idea.  Trista can gather her cute kids together to make some peanut butter sandwiches.  Uncle Rick would make a great potato salad from Gramma Dottie’s recipe.  Ask Jessica and her precious kids to put together some veggie and fruit sticks.  By asking friends or family who have children to bring the kids meals  you help them create their own memories of your family and friend outings. Kids like cooking if you keep it simple.  Creating memories is really what it is all about.  The older kids like Austin, Chase and Travis can run in to the convenience store and haul out the big bags of ice you are going to need to keep drinks and some foods cool. So plan on finding some big bowls and buckets for ice for the drinks and food.  Shawna and her darling kids can make some cookies.  If you have someone coming from quite a ways, like Kelly, ask them to pic kup some buns while they are shopping with whomever they are staying with.  Don’t ask Grandpa or Gramma to bring anything.  Their job is to enjoy all their grand and great grandchildren.

 

If your picnic or barbeque extends to night time, don’t forget night time snacks like smores or a great big paper bag full of homemade popcorn with real butter and salt.  Sparklers are fun and fairly safe with adult supervision.  Look for the Big Dipper or Little Dipper.  (Or all of them, if you know them, I only can recognize the Dippers.)

 

Now that you have the food taken care of, you unquestionably have to arrange some preplanned fun activities for the kids.  These can include sports type games such as Frisbee, baseball, or races.  Pinatas are always fun, but can leave a big mess.  Be prepared to clean up after the Pinata fun.

 

 

A very important factor in keeping our kiddies from becoming crabby and whining from all the activities is to provide some quiet time.  Bring their little blankies or something from home that they can relate to resting and you will have an easier time of settling them down for a little while. 

 

Paper type games and sit down games can help settle them down too.  A fun sit down game for kids of all ages is called: What’s Wrong with This Burger? A left to right style BBQ game. Everybody who wants to play sits in a circle.  Hand out one or more little gifts or treats and get someone to read the story out loud.  Every time the word LEFT is read, the players hand their item one person to their left.  Every time the word RIGHT is read, the players hand their item one person to the right.  Whoever is holding the goodies when the story ends gets to keep them.  You can make up your own story, or for $6.95 you can download a premade downloadable story at

 

BBQ Left-Right Game: What’s Wrong With This Burger?

 

 Because I don’t think that any child should leave without a treat, my version of this game is different.  Hand out 2 scraps of paper.  On these 2 scraps of paper you write 1st Pick and 2nd Pick.  Provide a container with small gifts or treats.  The winners get to dig in first and choose theirs.  The rest get theirs after that. 

 

 

 

On last note:  DON’T FORGET THE BUG SPRAY.

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