Kitchen Catastrophe Number Two

THAT DARN CAT!

That darn cat!  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  If you read my articles faithfully, you would have read about my  “Kitchen Catastrophe” with brownies.  Well, as luck would have it, the cats have struck again.  This time they upped the game.  But before I can tell you the rest of the story, I have to take you on a short “rabbit trail” of storytelling sorts.

This is how it all began

I signed up late last year to take an online baking class( more on this later).  As part of the class, our instructor Tessa Arias from Handle the Heat has been sharing with her students baking products that she recommends.   One of her recommendations was to get a Cuisinart 1 1/2 quart ice cream maker.  I really like ice cream, so I jotted it down on my list of products to watch for on sale.

 

ice cream

Photo Credit Roy Buri

One day while shopping at Kohl’s, I happened to go through the clearance shelves in the cookware department.  As I was skimming over the boxed items I ran into a mint green Cuisinart 1 1/2 quart ice cream maker.   Screech!  Did I just see what I think I saw? Yes indeed.  There it was in mint green color.  I grabbed the box and checked it over.   Looking inside everything seemed to be present.  I suspected someone got it, opened the box and decided the product or the color just wasn’t for them.  Therefore, I, Michele, now get a crack at it.  Oh boy!  And I happen to have a 30% off coupon. Silently, I do a little happy dance.  Well, as they say, “Waste not, want not.”  So I packaged up the ice cream maker, set it in my cart and proudly walked it to the checkout.

We now resume our regularly scheduled story

Now, back to the part about the cats.  In order to make ice cream, the ice cream maker has a container that must be frozen.  Depending on the fullness of your freezer, you could set it inside your freezer and have it frozen in about 6-8 hours.  The company recommends 24 hours, but I like to test the limits, so I decided to set it outside on the patio and let the outdoors give it a good freeze since it was in the single digits.  I had set the container out at about 12 noon.  I returned at 6 pm, to find my container frozen but freshly peed on and IN! BLAST IT ALL YOU CATS! They have tested the limits of my feline love.

Completely annoyed I yanked the container off of the floor of the patio, whipped open the patio door and stomped into the house.  Brad had been sitting in the kitchen around the island and looked up to see my disgusted face.

“Oh Boy!” said Brad, “What happened?”

So in true Michele fashion, I regaled the ill deed done to my container, to which he just bust out laughing, shaking his head.  With paper towels, I quickly sopped up the pee in the container as well as the dribbles outside or the container.  Taking the dish soap and hot water I took a dishcloth and washed the container, rinsing several times with very hot water.  Unfortunately, my frozen container now is making a sloshing sound so I dry it and stick it into the upstairs refrigerator-freezer.  Now we will have to wait another hour. UG!

You scream I scream, we all scream for ice cream

ice cream maker

Photo Credit Michele Bruxvoort

The hour passed.  I check the container to see if it was completely frozen and it was.  Having previously mixed the ice cream ingredients together, I had set this mixing bowl outside also to chill.  Stepping back outside on the patio I glanced at the ice cream mix bowl.  No cat pee on that bowl.  Phew!

Note to self: keep everything on the table or bench.

Back into the house, I dump the ice cream mix into the frozen container and lock everything into place and hit the “on”  button.  Ice cream deliciousness is just twenty minutes away!  After hundreds of dizzying numbers of frozen container turns, we were able to sample the chocolate ice cream.

YUM!  Tastes just like Culver’s custard!

Just for fun, give it a try with the freeze and stir method or the plastic storage bag method.  Honestly, you don’t need a machine.  Check out Tessa’s recipe.

last licks

In our family, when you are enjoying your bowl of ice cream and begin to scrape the bowl madly.  We call that “Last Licks”.  So as I close out this post, here is my “Last Licks” for you.  This is the recipe for the ice cream I made in my Cuisinart. All recipe credit due to the Cuisinart ice cream recipe book:

Simple Chocolate Ice Cream

¾          C. cocoa powder sifted

½         C. granulated sugar

1/3       C. packed dark brown sugar

Pinch of salt

1            C. whole milk

2            C. heavy cream

½           TBSP pure vanilla extract (I used imitation vanilla and it was just fine)

In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa, sugars, and salt.  Add the milk, and using a hand mixer at low speed or a whisk (the whisk worked just fine), beat to combine till the cocoa, sugars, and salt are dissolved.  Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.  Cover and refrigerate for two hours, or overnight.  Then you would place this mix in the frozen freezer bowl, placed on the machine, insert paddle, lock in place and turn on.  The average time for mixing is 15-20 minutes.  I am quite confident you can use this recipe as a freeze and stir or plastic bag method.

This makes 5 cups of delicious ice cream.  Very creamy and smooth and oh so chocolatey! Very definitely reminded me of Culvers Custard.   I sure hope you give this a try.  It would be fun to make on any day with your kids,  grandchildren, or fellow grown-ups.  Winter, summer, spring or fall, ice cream is still the best of all!

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas

Sharing a Few Christmas Memories

As we approach the final days to Christmas, Mandy and I would like to share with you some of our favorite childhood memories of Christmas.  We hope that you will enjoy and be blessed by our memories.  We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

My First Childhood Memory of Christmas:

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fruitcake

The Fruitcake

Fruitcake

I love fruitcake! But I am betting you don’t.  Well, today is the day dear reader.  I am going to change your mind about fruitcake.  Before you exit out of this blog article, just give me a chance to win you over.

 

Photo Credit Michele Bruxvoort

We all have our stories to share about the dreaded fruitcake.  You know the kind, it comes in a decorative tin or wrapped neatly in some holiday plastic wrap.  The cover of the tin has some idyllic Christmas scene of a horse and sleigh with happy riders decked out in winter garb.  They are probably “happy” because they threw their fruitcake out of the sleigh two miles back or like Hansel and Gretel, chiseled pieces out and threw them out along their route to make their return easier.  Perhaps they used it to defend themselves from would-be sleigh robbers.  One good hit to the head and your down for the count! Continue reading

Christmas Memories

the most wonderful time of the year

Photo Credit Free-Photos

Christmas memories are probably some of the most vivid memories I have.  There is something about being a kid that just engages all the senses and ingrains them deep in your mind and soul. My favorite memories all have to do with the “community” of Christmas.  Most everyone was into the “spirit” of the Christmas season.

At school, you practiced your part, memorized all the great Christmas hymns and some secular songs.  You ate lots of goodies that represented Christmas.  Pictures were drawn about Christmas, crafts made about Christmas.  Your Christmas program clothes and your Christmas pajamas.  Kids talked on the bus about what they thought they were getting for Christmas.  Some even went so far as to sneak peeks at moms Christmas present stash.

At church, you practiced Saturday afternoons for the big Christmas program that invariably someone either threw up or made the Christmas program director want to pull out her hair out. Christmas Eve comes and sleep doesn’t.  So many thoughts about what is under the tree?! And what fun you will have with cousins and family. And finally, you drift off to sleep and you wake up and… IT’S CHRISTMAS!

santa Claus is coming to town

You bolt from the bed and grab family as you go because no one can open any presents till everyone is there!  At last, everyone arrives in the living room only for mom to announce breakfast must be eaten first.  Good grief mom! What she doesn’t know is we polished off all the Christmas cookies last night before bed, there is no way any of us are hungry!  But rules are rules, so you go to your place at the table and you inhale your bowl of cereal.  All the while giving the “hurry up” eye to the rest of your clan.

Dad finally closes the feeding frenzy in prayer and it becomes an “every man for himself” as we leave the table.   Mom yells that all teeth must be brushed.  So, like a heard of wild buffalo we head into the bathroom.   A friendly boxing match begins for control of the toothpaste tube. Toothbrushes barely touching three teeth are thrown back into the drawer.  No one would be getting a star on their chart today for flossing, no sir!

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas

At last!  We are all assembled.  A scene from Norman Rockwell to be sure.  Eyes are wide with anticipation.  This is a pinnacle moment.  Hours have been spent pouring over the JC Penney’s catalog, the Sear’s catalog since September. Notes left, highlights made followed with arrows and circles so that Santa would not be mistaken.

Then, it is your turn to receive your gift.  Your heart is beating, hands are clapping in excitement.  You are ready to wildly rip off the wrapping paper and your mom stops you and tells you that it is polite to read the card first. You sigh.  The card envelope is opened, the card carefully is withdrawn and read. There, now the gift can be opened.  Paper flys and tada!  Yes! YES!  A Holly Hobbie General Store by Colorform.  I was in love. This is still the best gift I ever got as a kid.  I still wish I still had it! Check this out for some nostalgia:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGaF2YfpSUI

It really didn’t matter what anyone else got, you just were happy with your gift!  Mom and dad sit on the couch taking in the sight of happy children at peace. Well… for the moment anyway.

God rest ye merry gentlemen

We always spent Christmas Day with the Syens family.  Grandpa Syens always held court in the living room with sounds of the football game.  The ladies gathered in the dining room, and like prison guards, they patrolled this area making sure the kids and the guys kept the fingers out of the food in the kitchen until it was officially time to eat.

Like rats, we kids would slowly make our way into the kitchen and steal nibbles. Sometimes we would receive requests from the guys in the living room.  Carefully we would sneak into the kitchen and make a plate of requests.  If we were lucky we could make it through the dining room undetected.

Once the meal was eaten we would gather to open our presents and then run off and play.  The ladies would begin the assembly line of cleaning up the table, dishes, and distribution of the leftovers.  The men would continue to watch the game or fall into a food coma.

do you hear what I hear?

Photo Credit Jill 111

I like to think that I have matured in my celebration of Christmas.  For me, it has become a time of reflecting on the past year.  Taking an inventory of where I am at- as compared to where I was.  Allowing myself and others room to make mistakes, as well as grace and mercy to make it right.  To remember we only have this moment, so love deeply and forgive generously.  Holding all my expectations, hopes and dreams loosely.  Love people where they are at, not where I want them to be.  Celebrating life’s beautiful things and the wisdom to view everything else in light of eternity.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!  May the joy of His season fill you and carry you throughout the next year.

Michele

 

 

 

 

penny table

A PENNY SAVED… MAY BE DIFFICULT TO SPEND.

A Great home project from my sister, Kandy

 I saw this project a while ago and thought it would be perfect for the round end table that a friend gave me.  The top was a little rough, so I imagined it would be a good place to try!  The table was free and if I messed it up, no big loss.

I watched a YouTube video of someone doing this project.  She really did not do a very good job, so I was a little discouraged about the idea.  But finally, I gave in, went to the bank and got $5 worth of pennies.  Not enough, so I got $5 more.  I spent several hours playing with how to arrange them, and then came across some old foreign coins we had.  I liked the idea of the bright copper and thought that the inner circle would be interesting with the foreign coins.

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Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile

The Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile!  Have you ever seen it driving its way around America? Well, I have not only seen the Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile, BUT I HAVE RIDDEN IN THE OSCAR MAYER WIENER MOBILE.  WHAT!?  Yes, you read that right.  I did ride in the Wiener Mobile and it was my good friend Kristen Christian’s wedding party wheels.  Try to contain your jealousy, green is very unbecoming on you.

Photo Credit Michele Bruxvoort

This is how we roll

Imagine if you would… a wedding party of 10, rolling out of the church parking lot in the Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile.  Complimentary Wiener Whistles were handed out by the Wiener Mobile drivers as we boarded.  Huh?  Wait a second.  Wiener Whistles?  No complimentary Oscar Mayer wieners on a bun!?  Graciously I took a whistle and joined the chorus, all the while wishing I had a deliciously grilled Oscar Mayer wiener.  Maybe kazoos would have been a better choice? Continue reading

Welcome Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from Mandy and Michele

Remember hOW wE gOT hERE

We wish you great happiness during this Thanksgiving holiday, a day of remembrance that is fast losing its importance in our society. But we encourage you to take time to stop and remember why we celebrate. Just as God instructed the Israelites to stop and remember the events that He performed down through the ages, we also, must stop and remember how God was involved in bringing these United States to this point.

Stop and remember How Christopher Columbus was brave and determined to cross the ocean, Remember how the pilgrims risked their lives to leave Europe and come to this new land for freedom of worship, remember how there were native Americans who were kind and reached out to teach the pilgrims how to survive and others that served as guides into this new land. Remember how we became a new nation and created a constitution that would create a new form of democracy where the people could be involved in making the decisions of the land. And how we needed to learn how to treat others and how ALL men were created equal. Remember that we didn’t always do the right thing but that we are still working to treat all men equally.

Remember in your own families how God has brought you through hard times. How he has blessed your family through the generations. Think of all the things that he has blessed you with. And praise Him for it.

Today Michele and I want to remember and share a few things from our own family memories. We love for you to share in the comments about your own traditions and memories of Thanksgiving and the blessings Gods has bestowed upon you.

Thanksgiving Traditions

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Crochet project

Some of my Favorite Crochet Projects

My Favorite Crochet Projects

As we approach the holiday season, you might be looking for some special handmade items. So I thought I would share some of my favorite projects from this past year. Some of these are available to be ordered. I have time to do one more project before Christmas, so if you hurry you could be lucky and be the one to get something made by the Holiday.

Here are some of my favorite items. Of course, I can customize or do new things too. Just ask. You can also go to my Etsy page for ordering. Clicking on any picture will take you to my Etsy. Not everything is listed there. If you can’t find what you are looking for just send me a message.

Christmas Stocking

 

Did you see anything you like?

Order now by going to the contact page or to my Etsy Page

Happy Holidays!

Mandy Farmer

The Cold Roast Beef Sandwich

The cold roast beef sandwich might be popular with some, but not with this girl.  This sandwich often made its way into my “Welcome Back Kotter” metal lunch pail.  My dear mother was a good steward of every bit of food in the refrigerator.  Spying last nights roast beef, she lovingly made me a sandwich and put it in my lunch pail.  This sandwich started out cold, but then slowly from 7:30 am on, made it’s way up to room temperature. And room temperature roast beef is just gross.  What child in their right mind wants to eat room temperature roast beef?  I sure didn’t! Continue reading

How to Host Without Complaining

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we’ll soon have family and friends around the table. So I asked my friend, Sue Donaldson to share a little about hospitality

Hospitality is Hard: How to Host Without Complaining

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