Sunday, October 16, 2011

Simple, Delicious, Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

I love homemade ice cream. The smoothness, the richness, the fact that I made it. There is no store-bought ice cream that comes close to the taste of ice cream made at home.  I have tried many recipes, and all come out great. But I was running late with dinner plans on Memorial Day, I believe it was (a perfect holiday to have a BBQ and ice cream) and I didn't have time to cook eggs and go buy more  milk, etc. so I came across this recipe from Eagle Brand, I had everything on hand, and I'm glad I did. This was creamy, rich, easy, and best of all had awesome vanilla flavor. And besides the obvious need of ice and rock salt it is only 3 (THREE) ingrediants!!

  • 4 cups half & half
  • 14oz (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons (or 3) vanilla extract
Mix all ingridents together in a bowl. Pour into 2-quart ice cream freezer. Follow your manufacturer's instructions. (Add ice and rock salt) When it is done your ice cream should look this creamy and delicious!


Chhouy's Lettuce Wraps

I really enjoy the lettuce wraps from PF Chang's. I'm not too hip on most of the menu, surprisingly. Everything just tastes really soy saucy. Not necessarily my favorite flavor by itself, or in overwhelming quantities.
I really wanted to create my own wraps that I could make at home.
So...I played around with a variety of sauces and other ingredients until I came up with version.
It is definitely my sister-in-law's favorite, so we have it whenever we have a dinner get-together!
It makes quite a bit, so it can easily serve 4 people as a meal, or more if served as an appetizer.
To make it more filling, I typically whip up a batch of sticky rice to help fill the lettuce and then the meat filling has something to stick to.
From the list of ingredients, you may think it is really spicy, but it isn't.
The meat doesn't have much of a kick to it, however the sauce has a bit more. So, if you don't like the kick, just don't add the Sriracha sauce,
My only other tip would be to use lean meat so it isn't too greasy.
I like to use a pound of ground beef and a pound of ground turkey. But you could use all of one of the other with the same results.

Here is a line-up of the sauces I use, in case you aren't sure of what I am talking about:

Lettuce Wraps

by Emily Chhouy
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Ingredients (4-8 servings)
  • 2 heads iceberg lettuce
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound lean turkey
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (I like to use a food processor)
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 can water chestnuts; drained and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 C hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Asian chile sauce (Sriracha)
  • 1 teaspoon pure sesame oil
For the Sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha chile sauce
Brown ground beef and turkey in a wok with chopped onions, garlic and water chestnuts.
Add the soy sauce, hoisin, rice wine vinegar, chile sauce, sesame oil to the meat.
Cut core off the heads of lettuce, slice the head of lettuce in half.
Serve the meat in bowls with large spoons so everyone can scoop out the meat and place in their own lettuce leaf, with rice (if desired)
Serve with dipping sauce.
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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mason Jar + Salt Pourer DIY

I bake. I bake a lot. I'm actually trying to make a name for myself as a in-home baker of cupcakes, cakes, and thick-cut sugar cookies. (
So I keep flour, sugar, brown sugar and powdered sugar at an easily accessable spot on my countertop. Baking soda and baking powder are now great because they come in easy-to-use plastic containers. But then there is salt. In the cardboard container. I just hate that it is in a cardboard container. I tried pouring it all into a glass jar on my counter. But that proved not easy to use because you only need a bit at a time...and it took me longer to untwist the lid to the jar. Then there is the mason jar with its wonderful canning lid. I kept the pourer and the rest is making history on my countertop.

Make sure your mason jar is dry.
Remove the inner seal of the lid.
Pour salt into mason jar (it probably won't all fit, I also filled a salt shaker, and just threw away the rest. Wasteful, I know.)

Peel off the label.
I then used an xacto (is that how it is spelled?) knife to cut the white part off.

Place the ring of the lid on the top of the container.
Line up the edge to match the side closest to where the pour spout it.
Trace around the outside of the lid.
Cut out the circle.

Pop the circle into the lid and screw tightly onto the mason jar.
Perfect for displaying on the counter :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Little Ghostly Foot

It's Halloween time...which means pumpkins, ghosts and witches are popping everywhere for sale. I do love fall decor, however I have never really decorated for the season. I do have a "Welcome" sign on my front door spelled out in pumpkins and with a hint of glitter...but then I across a pin at pinterest and fell in love with the idea. A footprint ghost!

I love footprints and handprints of children, but I never thought of them in such a fun manner before! My daughter is 2 and a a half  so her foot is at a perfect size for this! It was inexpensive, and unlike the original poster from the link in pinterest, Sophia loved getting the bottom of her foot painted white.
I picked up a small wooden plaque at Wal-Mart one day while picking up dog food, and it cost a whopping 99 cents (before tax) I already had black and white craft paints and ribbons on hand. So we painted her foot one afternoon, used a black paint pen to dot on some eyes, hot glued a ribbon to make it girly, as well as some ribbon to hang it up with.
The result was great. Everyone in the family could do it and make a little ghost family! Now my mind is racing with so many print ideas for each season. I'm glad this one of of my first pieces of fall decor...and one I will cherish forever.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hide That Measuring Cup

Since I bake a lot, measuring cups are my best friend. However, they are bulky and awkward to keep in a drawer. They always seem to jam it up when I'm trying to open it in a hurry, they are always connected and I have to spend time undoing them from that little ring...the list of nuisances goes on and on!
After some searching on Better Homes and Gardens and Pinterest I found a few ideas and went with it! This is what I came up with:

The project was relatively simple and very inexpensive. I went to the hardware store and asked for some paint stirrers (he gave me 4 at no charge) and then I picked up a few packages of little twist hooks. I think they were under $1 for each package of 4. I picked up a larger hook and a smaller one also.

Then I cut the weird end off of the stirrer, the one with the notch/curve in it, to make it all rectangle.
I used a primer spray paint, then spray painted them brown, just to "match" the inside of my cupboard doors.
I had a paint pen lying around and so I wrote on the size of the cup or spoon above each hook.
I was going to screw them directly into the cabinet doors, but my husband had a better idea, he drilled a little hole directly through the paint stirrer into the cabinet, and then just screwed the hook in directly through that hole. It worked out perfect!
Each hook holds 3 measuring cups (that's what I have of each size, right now) :)
I think hunt up some more awkward utensils.
No more crazy drawer jams or hunting!


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