Saturday, July 07, 2007

Ice Cream and Around Town

My Little Hippo

It's summer again, and that means my love for ice cream is heightened ten fold. Really, if I could, I would live off ice cream, and one summer about 5 years ago I nearly did. In my efforts to do 101 things in 1001 days to better myself, and heck, just get things done, I'm trying to knock out one knew recipe a week. This serves a few purposes. One being, we've been stuck in a food rut lately, basically eating the same super easy things every week. Two, I like cooking, so what's more fun than making new things. And three, I have a boatload of recipe clippings just piled up in a box (well, not any more, they're in folders as of Wednesday, categorized by food type), plus cookbooks that have only been cracked to gaze adoringly at the photos. Yesterday I tried out a Williams-Sonoma Strawberry ice cream…and god, was it great! The best ice cream to come out of my ice cream maker, I can only imagine what it would be like with fresh strawberries…perhaps like heaven? The ice cream booklet that came with the maker may just be banished to the recycling bin, why I didn't follow W-S's instructions before, I have no idea because they know what they're talking about. The ice cream was so smooth, creamy, strawberry-ey and the perfect firmness (not rock hard, but not melty mushy as soon as it was in the bowl).

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream
(based off of Williams-Sonoma Ice Cream Strawberry Ice Cream)

• 2.5 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
• .5 cups Skim Milk
• .75 cups Sugar
• pinch of Salt
• 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
• 2 cups frozen strawberries, thawed partially & coarsely chopped

Combine cream and milk. Add sugar and salt and whisk until sugar begins to dissolve. Whisk in vanilla. Set aside for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cover and refrigerate for about 8 hours.

Mash up half of the strawberries, then refrigerate until ready to use.

Pour milk mixture into ice cream maker while its churning and freeze as per the maker's instructions (Mine was about 30 minutes). When the ice cream is the consistency of thick whipped cream, add strawberries and churn until blended well. Transfer ice cream into freezer safe container and freeze for at least 3 hours before enjoying!

UnNamed Amigurumi 1

Not surprisingly, the homemade strawberry was not the only ice cream I enjoyed yesterday. Hey, it's summer! And I have half days on Fridays!

For my late lunch I stopped by Cold Stone before heading to the YMCA for a cup of Mint Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip (needs caramel instead of fudge) and people watched in the Old State Capitol Plaza. I don't know if I've said it here before, but I really like living here (until a big tornado hits that is). I like that there are tourists milling around downtown all the time. I like that it seems to take only 15 minutes to get anywhere in town (no matter the distant, near or far). I like that Mike is around more and not a crabby driver anymore. And most of all, I like working downtown. I can walk to the library at lunch. Or go out to lunch (been doing that a little too much, bad for the wallet and the belly). Or I can just walk around the corner and sit in the park.

So anyways, I enjoyed my calorie fest in the Old State Capitol Plaza, gazing at the Lincoln family statues. Just being amused by every family stopping to pose with the family. Every family. From the young family with three little kids to the single mother and her daughter to the old couple. In the 30 minutes I sat there, at least 6 families had photo shoots. I wish I had video or at least pictures to show you how amusing this can be. Some people try to quietly snap their pictures from a distance (the older couple). The majority of groups just stand within the Lincolns and look straight ahead. But then you have the families of goofballs who mimic the exact poses of the statues. What makes that even more funny is the Lincoln family is separated by about 50 feet because Willy is on his way to school while the rest of the family (Abe, Mary Todd and Tad) waves goodbye. One family of 4 were posing (luckily with tag along uncle playing photographer) with mom fixing dad's collar and little daughter waving her heart out to her older brother who stood 50 feet away, not in the picture mind you, waving his cap. Once mom, dad and daughter were digitally captured the entourage moved over to son for his photo shoot. I wonder how they will choose to display the photos. Perhaps across the room from each other. And if this family wasn't enough…then came along single mom and her 13-year-old daughter, who stood behind a light pole and peeked her head around while her mom was getting her bearings. As mom started to walk away, daughter grabbed at mom and said "take a picture" and proceeded to pose sitting her around both sides of the pole (okay, it is kind of an old-timey light pole). The photo shoot moved to the nearby bench, where daughter posed sitting, laying, and standing on her head on this bench. Okay, not the last one. I left before the photo shoot was over, but I have a feeling it was going to go on for quite awhile, and I did need to go work off some of the creamy, minty, fudgey, brownie-y goodness I had just indulged in.

If you're curious as to why these adorable amigurumi adorn the post, well, I was ill prepared with neither an ice cream shot nor or my people watching. And what's a blog post without pictures…well, it's just someone's ramblings.

The top hippo is from Darcy for my birthday, and the tiny kitty was from SakanaSea for the Craftster May Birthday Swap. They are both nameless at this time, but finding home in my studio where all good crafty animals should be, right?

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