Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Baseball Ice Cream Cake

Summer birthdays call for ice cream cake! 

We've often made an ice cream cake for Storyteller because he loves it and it's so
much better than baking a cake when it's so very hot!
So cool and refreshing!

I made the same style cake two years ago for our baseball crazy boy but made it in a much larger
bowl since we had the family here to help us celebrate.
I also got a bit fancy with some colored whipped cream - you can see it HERE.

So, would you like the directions to make your own half baseball ice cream cake?
Baseball Ice Cream Cake
one (or more) carton of good quality ice cream - your choice of flavor (he chose vanilla bean)
sundae sauce (he chose homemade caramel)
candy and or nuts (he chose chopped Rolos)
whipping cream
1 piece of pull apart red licorice or shoe string licorice

a bowl lined with several layers of plastic wrap
a sharp knife
cake plate
icing spatula
waxed paper

There is no need to soften the ice cream if you are making this on a hot day - even with A/C it will soften very quickly when sliced unless your freezer is crazy cold.
Take the ice cream out of the cartons in one piece - I usually cut the carton open. 
Slice the ice cream in 2" thick slices with a sharp knife. 
Lay one slice in your plastic wrap lined bowl and using your hands or a large spoon, push the ice cream into the contours of the bowl. Cut more ice cream to line the sides of the bowl.
Layer a small amount of sundae sauce and candy or nuts
with alternate layers of ice cream slices until the bowl is full.  Work very quickly!!!
Finish with an ice cream layer.  
Really pack it in well and then cover tightly with more plastic wrap and 
freeze for at least 4-6 hours.

Prepare the lacing by separating the licorice and laying them out on waxed paper. Cut three strings into 1/2" pieces and place on longer strings to form laces.  I like to push them down a bit so that they stick and don't fall off when I transfer them to the cake.

When the cake is frozen, whip the cream with a little superfine sugar until stiff. Line the cake plate with strips of waxed paper around the edges and un-mold the ice cream mound unto the plate. Peel of the plastic wrap and 'ice' with whip cream.  If you have lots of whip cream and want to color some to pipe on that's fun too!
It's best to have a helper to transfer the licorice lacing unto the cake, but it cane be done singlehandedly if you're adept. Return the cake to the freezer until it is time to serve.

We used good quality ice cream that was on sale, Rolos that were on sale B1G1 and whipping cream that was on too. The licorice was not on sale, but we only used one strip. I made the caramel sundae sauce, but I should have just bought a jar because it was so hot and my first two batches didn't turn out. One batch curdled and the other got way too thick so we'll use it for apple dip.
This cake cost about $6 to make and would serve 8 generously.

We've tried lots of other flavor combinations and they were all good.
 Some favorite simple combinations :

*vanilla ice cream*chocolate ice cream* hot fudge sauce* crushed Oreos*
 *strawberry ice cream*strawberry sauce*shaved chocolate*crushed vanilla wafer cookies*
*vanilla ice cream*hot fudge sauce* Spanish peanuts*
*chocolate ice cream*peanut butter cups*peanuts*chocolate sauce*

What do you like in your Ice Cream Cake?

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Happy Birthday 

Today our Storyteller is eleven years old. 
I'm not sure where the time went, but it is quite possible that we were so busy
keeping him out of trouble that we missed a few days here and there!
What a blessing it is to see him maturing and growing up to be a godly young man.

It's so relaxing to be able to trust him to play on his own in the backyard, or to take him somewhere and not have to worry so much about him wandering off or endangering his life. 

 {we've waited a long time for these sweet days}

He is learning to control his wild impulses and make better decisions,
and he's finding that the consequences of not doing so are often  painful.

Yesterday the Historian took him to Game Stop to spend his hard earned money on a Wii Game!
Can you guess what game he chose? 
MLB 2K11
Of course.
Worth every penny of his 'garbage duty' days for Mr. Neighbour.
He played a game with Daddy first thing this morning before he let for work.
In his baseball p.j.'s of course!
He seems to think that because it's far too hot to play outside, and because it's his birthday
he gets 'unlimited screen time' today, but that's not the case!

He started the day with a short stack of chocolate chip pancakes
- not as good as Daddy's but they passed.

My brain was in a fog last night as I tried to come up with some character traits 
to go along with the letters for 'birthday'.
Sister thought 'T' should stand for something quite true but uncomplimentary, so we left it!

After breakfast he got dressed in a t-shirt I made him recently and some shorts 
- and then went right back to Wii! 
What a boy!
I'm not sure what we're doing with the rest of the day.
Trying to keep cool, keep hydrated and have a little fun.
I'm so thankful he asked for an ice cream cake for his birthday 
- so easy to make and perfect for such a hot day!

Storyteller just came to sit beside me to see what I'm up to on the computer!
I think it's time to roll up our sleeves and get working on that ice cream cake! Yum!

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Gardening by moonlight

It's 10:30 PM and I'm just in from the garden. My dream is that some evening my sweet Historian and I will be just coming in together about now after an evening on the back patio just talking and enjoying each others company.  Maybe with a ice cold lemonade and some soft music.
Kinda like a date.   
I have fond memories of dates with my Historian ...

Tonight was not that night.  
I was not out admiring my night garden.  
I was gardening at night.  
And the moonlight?  Well, that's a bit of a stretch since there wasn't much moonlight at all.

Do you garden at night?
Perhaps I'm the only crazy night time gardener.  I hope not though, because it's kind of fun!

In fact there are some distinct advantages to gardening at night.
I'll list them for you just for fun:

  1. The best reason for night gardening is that you get a 'buy' from weeding! Seriously - it's not light enough to really see if it is true weed or just some self seeding darlin' that needs to be transplanted.  Since I don't want to yank out the good guys, I don't even try to weed at night.  Now isn't that the best definition of  garden bliss?  I think so!
  2. It's quiet.  No phone ringing or children running in and out the back door.  No dodging stray baseballs or tripping over toys. No distractions. The children are in bed, the toys are put away and the the garden is your own.
  3. It's cooler - the sun is down and the cool evening air is usually clear and fresh. I like to end my evening gardening with a cool shower, fresh 'dried on the line' p.j.'s and a big glass of water. Oh, and lots of lotion for my thirsty skin.
  4. It's just 'get it done' gardening. I had a whole flat of annuals that I bought on clearance last week to fill in spots here and there.  In the daytime I would carefully dig those holes, fill them with compost, gently loosen those roots, firm in the flowers, water, mulch and move on to the next empty spot.  At night I skip a few steps and just get those plants planted already! Everything seems to thrive, so it's great!
  5. I dream about my garden.  Spending time in the garden just before bed is relaxing and often I dream pleasant garden dreams when I finally get to bed.
  6. Surprise!  Does everyone love surprises in the garden?  I sure do.  Unless they are of the reptilian variety. Since you can't really see what you've done in your night gardening madness, the morning light reveals all.  Most of the time it's just a joy to see everything in place and putting down roots.  It's like having little garden helpers doing all the hard work for you!
  7. Moonflowers bloom only at night.  They make my heart sing with their sweet spicy scent and dinner plate sized blooms.  I don't get up early enough to see them fade as the morning light hits, so gardening at night means I get to see rare beauty.  They should be blooming in the next week or so, so I'll have to find some more clearance flowers to 'tuck in' one evening after the kids are in bed!

Of course, it's not all rosy out there in the night - gardening until long past sunset.  
There are some  small disadvantages too.  
For the sake of fairness, I feel I'd better list them:

  1. It's really hard to see at night.  In the dark. Unless there is a big bright moon. My Historian once offered to buy me a head lamp for night time gardening, but then I think he felt he'd just be enabling my strange unusual behavior.  He didn't get me one. When we put lights around the pergola on the back patio, he thought we'd have nice evening get togethers and illumine the garden.  I knew all along that the plan was to garden at night.
  2. The weeds are still there in the morning.  No gardening helpers remove them over night. Sorry about that.
  3. It's quiet - which means no power tools.  Probably a good thing since I am terrible at hedge trimming in daylight, so night trimming is seriously not a good plan.  If say, you trip on the hose and knock over a ladder or something, it will sound 100 times louder in the stillness of the night.  Who put that hose there anyway?
  4. You may have some unhappy surprises in the morning -  you may have to move a few plants into their 'happy place' because it was too dark to read the tiny print on the plant labels and you put a 'part shade' annual in full sun and a 'sunny' annual in full shade. It can happen.  I blame the dark, but really I should probably take my new reading glasses out to the garden with me. Those labels are tiny!
  5. You can't take pictures very well, and often you forget to dig out your garden journal and make note of what was planted where, which means if you had great success, you  have no notes to help you repeat it.  Or if you have great failure, you might just repeat that because of the lack of note taking. Garden journals are great, but only if you use them.
  6. Mosquitoes.
  7. Mosquitoes.
  8. Mosquitoes.
 Tonight I had so much fun with an old chair, some hardware cloth, sphagnum moss, apple green spray paint, compost and a few clearance flowers. When I was in a garden center a few weeks ago I saw a bright chair filled with flowers that made my heart sing!  
I know flower chairs are nothing new, but it was so pretty - it inspired me.
It was $239.00.
 So, I got to thinking. 
I had an old chair that we took out of a 'large garbage collection' pile a few summers ago.  We enjoyed a wee bit of a fairy garden in a big green pot on it for two summers and then the middle piece of the seat simply fell out.  This weekend I  filled in the hole with hardware cloth and tonight I spray painted the chair very quickly and imperfectly, lined it with moss and compost and filled it with flowers. 
The $1 ivy is the same apple green and the lime nicotiana is perfect!  
I can't wait to see it in the light of day!
I will take a picture for you!

I hope your garden is bringing you as much joy as my garden is bringing me!

I'll report in later on the veggies, but there is not much to tell.  The whole garden is getting too much shade from a sweet gum tree that grew like crazy last summer and fall.  We either need to move the whole garden or trim the tree and hope for the best.  

Let me know if you try night gardening!  
I'd love to hear that I'm not the only one!

The greatest advantage of night gardening - it's a chance to wander through the garden with a heart full of praise and give thanks to God who is the One who bestows such beauty and joy in our crazy mixed up fallen world. I think of Adam and Eve walking with God in that first perfect garden in the cool of the day and enjoying sweet friendship in such a pure and unhindered way.  That I can come to God through Jesus Christ despite my sin nature is just an unforgettable blessing. 

Blessings friends,

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