Monday, July 16, 2018

Cookie Dough Topping

It's National Ice Cream Month. Music to my ears. 

Does anyone else have a deep and sincere love for cookie dough balls on their ice cream?  Or is it just my family?

I've passed on my appreciation for ice cream to every one of my four kids. We mix flavors and try a variety of toppings. One topping we all agree on is cookie dough, and the more the merrier.

I've mentioned that going out for ice cream is expensive, and I'm a fan of making at home treats whenever possible.  Much to my family's delight, I've added cookie dough making to my repertoire.  This recipe doesn't make the buckets I need for my family, but it makes enough to top your ice cream for a few weeks. 

This can also be used to transform vanilla ice cream into cookie dough ice cream...for all you ice cream makers.

1 c. all purpose flour
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. white sugar
1/4 c. butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c. water
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

In mixer, blend first 6 ingredients (no chips) on medium speed until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.  On wax paper, spread mixture to a little less than 1/2" thick.  Freeze until firm (about 1 hour).

Remove from freezer and cut to desired size.  This will thaw quick, and I like to roll the pieces to resemble cookie dough ball topping.  But squares work too!

Happy National Ice Cream Month!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Mama's Specialties

A few years ago, I started making something I dubbed a "Mama's Specialty."  Basically our family was in a downward spiral (that I created) of going out for ice cream.  This gets very expensive.  I decided to make my own little ice cream shop in my kitchen.  My creations were more impressive than any ice cream window, and I could make several for less than $5.  

The trick behind a Mama's Specialty is the size.  It needs to look impressive.  Often this can be achieved by overfilling an 8 oz cup.  I usually use 12 oz, but that's because I know I wouldn't want any smaller myself. 

Two generous scoops (minimum), drizzled chocolate syrup (or marshmallow, caramel, or anything) with sprinkles, chocolate chips, cookie crumbles or other toppings need to go on the bottom of the cup AND the top of the sundae.  Add whipped cream, drizzle a little more topping over the whipped cream. 

My kids wait for their specialties these days.  My kids' friends even know about these wondrous creations.  I have a line of munchkins every time we go away on vacation with other families.  They are all waiting for their desserts. 

Making your own sundaes saves a crap ton of money when you are on vacation. Trust me, I know this firsthand.  Too often we get into the habit of thinking a special treat or a special evening needs to be outside the home.  We go out to eat, out for dessert or out for a movie.

Stay in.  You'll be surprised how much an evening in can overshadow any evening out. You'll save money and the kids will be more comfortable than if they were sitting in a restaurant.  In your living room you can wear jammies or sweats and really focus on family time.

While my kids love a special treat every night, you can make Sunday for sundaes.  Or Friday. Or whatever your heart desires.

Play it up, set the toppings out and let the kids get crazy!  If this gives you anxiety take their orders and you get crazy.

A few of my favorite toppings:

M&M's (any variety)
chocolate chips (mini are best)
crumbled cookies
chocolate syrup
caramel syrup
marshmallow (made by mixing 1/2 cup Fluff with a tablespoon of boiling hot water)
whipped cream
melted peanut butter

I've also ventured into milkshake making, and this is one of the easier desserts to surprise your kids. A few scoops ice cream (any flavor) and a cup of milk, add syrup to the cup before you pour in the milkshake, and top with a few toppings.

Happy almost weekend!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Happily Ever After...

On Saturday, my sister got married.  This was a very special occasion for me. Not only did she marry her best friend and soul mate, I found him on the sidelines of my son's football scrimmage three years ago.


The short story of the long story is my sister was living with me after moving back east.  While I love her dearly, and she means the world to me, I have four kids.  My house is already full, and an extra person was starting to wear me down.  I knew she may eventually need a good reason to start looking for a place of her own, and I wondered if a good man might do the trick.

One day, at my son's football scrimmage, I saw Dan.  He is the athletic trainer at our high school, and he is adorable.  Tall, dark and handsome and even though I didn't even know his name, I wondered if maybe he would take my sister out.

And he did.  

The rest is history.

Weddings have a magical way of bringing families and friends together.  There is so much happiness and people tend to be their best when they are celebrating a new life.  Whether it be a baby or a wedding, there is something to be said about a new beginning.  

And we celebrated well this past weekend.  I had family in for several days, and seeing everyone left my heart full.  The weather was phenomenal.  Blue skies as far as the eye could see.

The venue was fitting, a barn in the countryside. We do live in rural Pennsylvania and my sister wanted to honor the lifestyle she has grown to love. From the people to the flowers to our brother officiating the ceremony, we couldn't have asked for a better day.

My children were blessed to be included in everything, which was fitting since they were involved from the beginning.  From my oldest son showing the trainer a picture of his aunt before they met, to my younger kids reading all Dan's text messages that first week, it's safe to say my kids felt they had a hand in this union as well. I can still see us laying on her bed when she would open a message, and my kids would tell her what to text back.  

My sister would calmly tell them, No, have to sit on a message for at least a few hours.  We don't want him thinking I'm sitting here waiting for him to text...

I'm laughing as I remember it, but I guess she knew what she was doing. 

On Saturday, they were thrilled to be sharing in every bit of my sister's happiness.

Look at this face..

My sister has waited a long time to find the perfect person to share her world with, and I'm feeling extra wonderful this morning knowing I had a hand in helping her.  While marriage and family isn't for everyone, when your heart desires it finding someone to start that journey with gives new meaning to the word love.

Not everyone fits the "forever" mold no matter how much we wish they did.  The good news is that when we see the happily ever after we truly know that God works in mysterious ways.  You never know where life is going to lead you.

Happy Monday all...wishing you a week full of love!