Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Dessert

DessertIt’s summertime!

The days are longer.

The temperatures are higher and my days are busier!

It sounds like the perfect time to make a yummy ice cream dessert!

This recipe was the inspiration for two of our family favorites, Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream Dessert and Chocolate Ice Cream Dessert.  Both of which we’ve enjoyed often.

But would you believe that we have never made the original?!

It was past time to try it.

And it was delicious!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Dessert

1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped peanuts
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
6 cups chocolate ice cream, softened, divided.

Filling:
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup peanut butter, either crunchy or smooth
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped (I cheated and used about 4 ounces of Cool Whip)

Line the bottom and sides of a loaf pan (9 inch x 3 inch x 5 inch) with heavy duty aluminum foil.

Combine the vanilla wafer crumbs, chopped peanuts, melted butter and 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Press half into the bottom of the foil lined pan. Freeze for 15 minutes.

Spread half of the ice cream over the crust and freeze for 1 hour.

(Here’s a hint for the ice cream: a half-gallon carton is the perfect size! Open it up lengthwise and cut the rectangle of ice cream in half. Then cut one of the halves into thirds and squish them into the loaf pan. Put the rest of the ice cream in the freezer till later.)

Meanwhile, for the filling, beat cream cheese and peanut butter in a mixing bowl. Add powdered sugar and milk. Mix well. Fold in whipped cream.

Spread over the ice cream and freeze for 1 hour or until firm.

Spread with remaining ice cream – the pan will be very full. (Just cut the remaining half of the carton of ice cream into thirds and start squishing it in!) Press the remaining crumb mixture on top. Cover and freeze for several hours of overnight.

Remove from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving. using the foil, remove the loaf from the pan and discard the foil.

Cut into pieces with a serrated knife.  It should yield 10-12 large slices, or 15 smaller ones.

Enjoy!

I’ve linked this post up with Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace and Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

Somewhere Between…

We’re in a between place –  it’s not quite summer and it’s not quite fall.

The days are warm and sunny, but the nights are cool and crisp.

School has started, but we’re still wearing shorts and t-shirts.

Melon

My garden is still producing summer crops – like these cantaloupes – all eight of them harvested on one day!

But my fall crop of  apples in the orchard are already starting to ripen.

We picked 5 tubs of apples from a neighbor’s tree this week and canned almost 50 quarts of applesauce – and still have 3 tubs to work up.

Apples

The pears aren’t far behind them.

The cicadas are singing and the world is starting – very slowly – to turn brown.

One season is closing and another is just beginning.

A part of me is ready for the schedule and structure of the fall – yet another part of me already misses the freedom of the summer.

While my mouth still waters for another taste of meat on the grill, I find myself lingering over recipes for warm comforting casseroles and rich thick stews.

We’re hanging in the “between” right now, enjoying the sunshine and beautiful breezes.

For just a little while we can forget the heat and humidity of the past months and the cold and snow that are surely in our future.

Yes, we are most definitely somewhere between and I think it’s a pretty sweet place to be!

Staying Cool with Fruit Slushies

It’s hot. Really hot.

And humid.

So hot and humid that an extensive heat advisory is old news.

waters

So hot and humid that your glasses fog up when you walk out of the house.

So hot and humid that you fight over who gets to wash the dishes so you don’t have to go out and spread mulch in the garden.

dump

So hot that you just dump the water gun on yourself, rather than wait for a sibling to hit you with a spray of water.

Slushe

It’s so hot that it’s time for Fruit Slushies.

Back in the days when we lived in the hovel with no AC – we would try to “celebrate the heat” with special cool treats in the afternoon.

These Fruit Slushies were always a favorite!

We’ve discovered that they are still a treat – even with the air on!

The recipe couldn’t be more simple – or more versatile.

Fruit Slushies

Blend together in a blender:   (I blend these in batches because my blender isn’t big enough for everything at once.)

1 can fruit cocktail
1 can apricots
1 can peaches
1 can pears
4 medium bananas
1 can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 can frozen lemonade concentrate

Pour into a plastic container and freeze. ( I use an ice cream bucket.)

To serve – let the fruit mixture sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Using an ice cream scoop, place scoops of the mixture into a glass and fill it with lemon-lime pop. (We’ve used 7 Up, Sprite, and even store brand – it’s all good!)

I have substituted almost any canned fruit in this recipe and it’s always worked. It doesn’t matter what size cans you use – whatever is in the pantry or on sale will work. Make sure you use the juice and the fruit -just dump it all in!

It’s an inexpensive and fun way to celebrate the  last days of summer.

Stay cool!

I’ve linked this post up with Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam,  Tuesdays at the Table at All the Small Stuff, and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed With Grace.

Fruit Fly Trap

I have fruit flies.  Again.

These nasty little buggers are hard to catch. You can’t swat them – they move too fast. Since I couldn’t get them with brawn – it was gonna take some brain.

So I googled fruit fly trap.

Oh my the things I learned! Did you know that fruit flies can lay up to 500 eggs at one time?! Yikes!

One site even told me hold to make my own fruit fly farm so I could watch the entire life cycle through a 2 liter pop bottle! Oh joys! I think I’ll pass on that one.

I did find several do-it-yourself type traps designed to catch the little varmints and decided to try a couple different designs.

Fruit Fly TrapDesign one – an old canning jar with apple cider vinegar and some ripe bananas as bait and a cone made from paper inserted in the jar. The theory is the flies can get in, attracted to the smell, but can’t get back out.

(Please notice the beautiful scalloped edge on the top of the cone! Would you believe I planned it that way? I didn’t think so. Actually – the only scissors I could find were Angel Girl’s pretty edging ones.  Nothing’s too good for my fruit fly trap! Maybe I should add a decorative ribbon – say – a bright yellow?!)

Fruit Fly TrapThe second model is also a canning jar with apple cider vinegar and bananas, but this one has a piece of plastic wrap stretched over it and secured by a rubber band. It also has small pin holes pricked in the plastic.

So far – they are both working.  When I get a few fruit flies, I throw the whole thing in the freezer for about 30 minutes. It kills those critters dead. <insert evil laughter>

Then I sit it back out on the counter and attract some more.

Take that you pesky varmints!

Spaghetti and Fresh Tomatoes

The tomatoes in the garden are still trying to set on and ripen. We’ve had just enough to enjoy fresh, including this favorite dish of mine, spaghetti and fresh tomatoes.

It is my side dish of choice when ever we do anything on the grill!

Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes

Peel 8 medium tomatoes. Chop, seed and drain.

Combine 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 clove of garlic (crushed), 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley chopped, 1 tsp. basil, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 of a green pepper (chopped) and 16 black olives, sliced.

Add tomatoes and set aside at room temperature.

Cook 8 oz. of spaghetti according to directions. Drain and place in serving bowl. Add tomato mixture and toss. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

I’ve used whatever kind of pasta that I had on hand and it worked just fine! I like to cook a big bag of pasta (16 oz.) and divide it into two bowls. One bowl (for the kids) will get just Parmesan cheese and melted butter. The other bowl (for the adults) will get the tomato mixture!

It’s a fresh and delicious taste of summer!

The Perfect Summer Day

The perfect summer day…

We’ve had a few this year. Days of mild temperatures, low humidity and light breezes.

Days when the birds sing, the butterflies flitter and the flowers wave in the breeze.

Days that call you out of the house, away from the computer, the dishes, the laundry, and the cleaning.

Days that make you close you eyes and breath deep and laugh out loud, thankful that you’re alive!

Laughing Song

When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling steam runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;

When the meadows laugh with lively green,
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene;
When Mary and Susan and Emily
With their sweet round mouths sing “Ha Ha He!”

When the painted birds laugh in the shade
When our table with cherries and nuts is spread:
Come live, and be merry and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of “Ha Ha He!”

~William Blake

Fresh Cabbage: Ramen Noodle Cole Slaw

I finally picked our 2 cabbages from the garden yesterday.

Yes, 2 cabbages. Out of the 12 cabbage plants that I put in, only 2 stayed alive and produced a head. I guess the rest all drowned in the rain!

Since my husband and I both love coleslaw, I took one of the precious cabbages and made a batch of Ramen Noodle Cole Slaw.

It’s a summer time favorite by the more discerning palettes in our home (read: adults). None of my children will touch it willingly, yet.

Ramen Noodle Cole Slaw

Break noodles from 1 package of Ramen Noodles (any flavor) into bite size pieces in a bowl.

Add 1/2 head of shredded cabbage, 1/4 cup of chopped onion, 1/2 cup diced green or red pepper, and 1 small carrot, shredded.

Mix together 1/2 cup of cooking oil, 1/2 cup of vinegar, 1/2 cup of sugar and the Ramen noodle seasonings.

Pour the dressing over the noodles and cabbage mixture and toss together. Refrigerate at least 1-2 hours before serving.

It’s a fresh, tangy taste of summer!

Cilantro and Fresh Salsa

I am hooked on fresh cilantro!

I had never had it until a few years when my sister Teresa brought it to a family gathering. Now it can’t be summer without it!

I actually bought a plant this year so I could start some of my own, but my mom assures me it grows just fine from seed.

My favorite way to use it is cut up with fresh tomatoes, green peppers, onions and garlic in a salsa.

Served with chips or on top of taco it brings the fresh taste of summer right to my dinner table!

A Blue Ribbon Day at the Fair!

State Fair violet jelly it was a great day at the County Fair yesterday! The kids all did well and all the projects made it on time. (Round of applause!)

Here’s a run down on the results:

Matt: one blue and 2 selected for the State Fair

Dagmar: one blue, 1 considered for the State Fair and 1 selected for the State Fair

Pedro: 2 blue and 1 Outstanding Junior Exhibit

Angel Girl: 2 blue and 1 outstanding junior Exhibit

Pedro’s footstool receiving a blue ribbon (yeah!)

Now to take a deep breath, rest a few minutes before heading straight into Vacation Bible School.

I’ve decided that the term “Summer Vacation” is definitely a misnomer!

Hello Summer Hot Dog Roast

roasting marshmallow on camp fireHello summer!

After the spring we’ve had here in the Midwest, I think all of us are ready to leave it behind and begin a new season.

We celebrated the official start of summer tonight with a hot dog roast. We had planned to go out to the ponds, but the weather looked a little uncertain, and the ticks are awful, so we stayed close to the house instead.

We sat and enjoyed nicely charred hot dogs, lukewarm baked beans and carrot sticks while swatting gnats and flies all the while getting smoke in our eyes and grass in our lemonade.  Don’t you just love a hot dog roast!?

Actually, I do! There’s something about the informality around the campfire that relaxes everybody. The kids got to telling stories and joking around. Everybody ate more than they should have, and it was fun. We made a memory tonight.

The kids are sitting outside now, joking around and watching the storms move in across the rural skies. It’s an amazing sight.

I guess I’m a pretty contented country gal tonight…smoke-filled hair, a belly full of s’mores, fun family time and a glimpse of the awesome power of God. I’d call that a good evening!