Homemade Ice Cream — made with the stand mixer

Ice cream is a year round food for me.  This Kitchen Aid ice cream maker attachment was on my wish list for ages.  But at around $100, I considered it too pricey for an ice cream making gadget.  And then finally came a Black Friday deal, and I bagged my own ice cream freezing/churning bowl for under $50.  (Although still a little on the pricey side for this frugal cook.)  Lately the price seems to be holding at the $50 level.

https://smile.amazon.com/KitchenAid-KICA0WH-Cream-Maker-Attachment/dp/B0002IES80

Ice Cream bowl

Ice cream bowl and attachments

The Kitchen Aid (or any frozen ice cream mixing bowl) is super convenient, because you don’t have to deal with the bags of ice and rock salt needed for a traditional ice cream machine.  The frozen mixing bowl works quicker, too.  But there’s a process to it.  So without further delay, here’s what works for me:

The Recipe — comes from this blogger:  https://barefeetinthekitchen.com/homemade-ice-cream-recipe/   Visit her page for excellent instructions and comments.

Everyone has their own target level for ice cream taste, texture and nutrition; and her ingredients are more rich than my preference.  So below is my version of the ingredients.  For my taste, this texture is still creamy enough to enjoy and not feel deprived of the decadence:

1 cup heavy cream
2 cups skim milk
¾ cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp sea salt

Quick Method (for eating soft ice cream asap):

  • Mixer bowl must be frozen in advance.  There are no shortcuts for this step.
  • Combine all of the ingredients and pour into frozen mixer bowl.
  • Churn in frozen mixer bowl for 25-30 minutes.
  • Serve.  It will have a light, soft-serve consistency, with a slight crystal-ly texture.  It will be a bit like eating frozen, sweetened whipped cream.
  • Then store the leftovers in the freezer, and in a few hours, you should have perfect hard scoop ice cream.

Longer Method (for smooth hard scoop consistency):

  • Freeze the mixer bowl in advance.
  • Combine the ingredients and cook on the stovetop, just long enough to dissolve the sugar.  Stir while cooking.
  • Chill the mixture in the fridge.
  • Pour the chilled mixture into the frozen mixing bowl and churn for 25-30 minutes.
  • Transfer to a tub with lid, and freeze for a few hours, or overnight.

When you start the churning process, it will look like this:

Then 10-15 minutes later, you’ll notice the mixture expanding and taking form:

After 25-30 minutes, the mixture will be at or close to the top of the bowl, and the motor will be working harder: 

That’s when I stop and scoop the soft-frozen mixture into a tub, and put the tub in the deep freeze for a few hours.  The batch fits perfectly in a 45 oz margarine tub:

Ice cream tub b w

Carton label w edited RSR

A few hours later, it’s like this:

Ice Cream scoop w


Serving:  My current favorite toppings are strawberries and homemade chocolate sauce.

Ice cream toppings2 w RSR

Or, you can take it to another level and make Fried Ice Cream.  (And then top it with strawberries and chocolate sauce.)

One final tip:  After the churning process, the mixing bowl will still be partly frozen.  Immediately wash it and put it back in the freezer so it will soon be ready to make the next batch.


Start the process now, and by the time this video stops playing, you’ll have your own delicious homemade perfect hard scoop ice cream.

 

Dog calming vest for fireworks season

The brand name is ‘Thundershirt‘.  It is a tried and true device for calming dogs who fear thunder and fireworks, by creating a swaddling effect.

[Picture from the Thundershirt website.]

ThunderShirt Polo Dog Anxiety Jacket

 

I may end up buying the authentic Thundershirt for Myrtle (or one of the smorgasbord of other brands now available on Amazon, such as this one called Mellow Shirt“).

But first I want to see if Myrtle needs it and if it will calm her during fireworks season.  We’ve had three nights of fireworks in the neighborhood so far.  The first night, she was visibly agitated, even in the house when I was with her, trying to comfort her.  She was startled and barked at every boom.

So, I’ve mocked up a DIY compression vest for her.   The first mock up is made of terry cloth, to be soft and cool.

Vest Floor 2 w RSR

The next mock up will be all or part netting, and stretchier:

Netting w RSR

While wearing the terrycloth vest, she immediately began sitting and laying down more, while not showing signs that the vest bothers her.

Sitting w RSR

Napping w RSR

Watchdog 2 w RSR

However, the real test hasn’t occurred yet.  The fireworks have been quiet in our ‘hood since that first night.

I’ll be watching and tweaking the vests all week, hoping that by July 4th, we’ll have something that keeps her from being frightened.


The vest has not taken away her energy, and by that I mean her desire to play with the baby robins in the neighbor’s tree.


 

Fourth of July tips from our humane society:

Fourth of July pet tips from KHS

And from the totally awesome The Oatmeal:

Image may contain: text

Check your main shut-off valve

Do you have a main water shut-off valve inside your house?  It’s a code requirement, so you probably do.  But if for some reason you don’t have one, I recommend getting one installed.  It makes it easy to shut off the water to repair or replace toilet valves, washer hoses, sink faucets and supply lines, etc.

Mine looks like this.  I access it from a trap door in a closet.  

IMG_20190623_103638574 RSR

 

Do you turn off the main shut-off when you go on vacation?  I recommend it.  It’s peace of mind that you won’t come home to a flooded house if a washer hose bursts, pipes freeze or some other unplanned catastrophe occurs.

Can you easily access your main shut-off valve, or is it behind a locked door, accessible only by ladder, or otherwise barricaded by stuff?  If so, I recommend clearing a path and making it quickly accessible.  That way, if there is a water emergency, such as a burst pipe or hose, you can quickly stop the flow.

The next important question is:  Is your main shut-off valve this type?

IMG_20190519_150242482a RSR

If so, I recommend replacing it, and here’s why.  It will break.

IMG_20190519_150302266a RSR

Recently, I turned the water off at the shut-off, so I could replace a toilet valve.  With the toilet valve easily replaced, I re-opened the shut-off valve.  Unexpectedly, the shut-off valve handle came off in my hand, and water started pouring into the space under my house. 

IMG_20190519_150258359a RSR

Miraculously, I got the handle back on and the valve closed.  Murphy’s Law dictated that this would happen on a Sunday afternoon.  No plumbers were available.  I went all night without running water, worrying that the shut-off would fail.  Thankfully it didn’t.  The plumber got here first thing in the morning and replaced the valve.  He replaced it with a quarter-turn ball valve.

IMG_20190623_103644727 RSR

This is the type of shut-off I had always wanted, but didn’t realize I should have gone ahead and gotten the replacement.  The total cost was $150.  The plumber rolled his eyes at the round handle type and said “they all fail”.

With the quarter-turn ball valve, my peace of mind is restored.  If I want to replace a faucet, or go on vacation, a simple turn of the shut-off valve is all it takes to turn the water off to the entire house.


Not all water can be so easily turned off.  I’m speaking of all of the rain we are getting here in the Arkansas River region.  Our banks, reservoirs and ditches are full, and we are sending the excess on to Oklahoma and Arkansas.  Sorry ’bout that, neighbors to the south.

Bridges are still doing okay in my area, but some streets and paths, not so much.  Parts of our river bike/walk path has been submerged.  When the water recedes, in some spots the path has washed away with it.

IMG_20190524_191555069b RSRIMG_20190524_193019097a RSR

‘Some’ are enjoying it.  Others like me are spending a lot of extra effort on cleanup.  Sigh.

Download a free Mary Quant-inspired dress pattern and tutorial; courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum

The fantastic Victoria and Albert Museum in London is hosting a Mary Quant exhibit this year. With it they’re putting on workshops and special events.  If like me, you can’t get to London this year, there’s this!  The museum has commissioned a dress pattern to be designed in the style of Mary Quant.  It’s now available here, with written and video instructions and tutorial:

https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/sew-your-own-mary-quant-style-minidress

From the V&A pattern webpage:

This easy-to-use sewing pattern has been designed exclusively for us by Alice & Co Patterns. The design includes two neckline options, two pocket options, three collar finishes, and two sleeve finishes – all inspired by Mary Quant’s iconic designs. It’s a classic A-line mini which sits just above the knee – you can shorten it if you want to show a bit more thigh, or lengthen to turn it into a more 70s style maxi-dress.


Of course I’m going to make one!

The pattern designer was Alice and Co Patterns.  They have a nice collection of other patterns and inspiring projects, too.  https://aliceandcopatterns.com

 

I had measles as a teenager.

There’s a lot of conversation about measles these days, in the US anyway.  Here’s my story….

I got miserably sick with fever, and then a rash started showing up.  Mom took me to the doctor.  The bewildering diagnosis was measles.  It was bewildering because–

  • No one gets measles (or so I thought); and
  • As a child, I had been vaccinated against measles.  My immunization records confirmed it.

The assumption was made that the vaccine failed, or the pediatrician’s staff had noted the immunization in my records but forgot to actually administer the vaccine.

It was the most miserable I’ve ever been in my life, and scary.  

  • There were the typical symptoms of being sick–Achy and miserable all over, nose, throat and relentless cough; no energy for anything but bed rest.
  • Itchy, burning rash–The rash covered my entire body, and itched and burned like mad, day and night.
  • High Feverpersistent, deadly high temperatures.
  • Ice baths–The high fever had to be controlled with intermittent freezing cold ice baths.
  • Night sweats–I learned to love them, because it meant the fever was breaking, or something like that.  Confession:  I still love night sweats to this day, because I remember the relief it brought.
  • The misery lasted about a month, with 2+ weeks being absolute round-the-clock hell.

The rash made me really ugly.

  • The rash was thick, soft and red, and covered my entire body; face, arms, legs, and torso.  Visualize the worse case of acne, chicken pox and poison ivy ever seen, and then fill in any open spaces with more rash.
  • My dad teased me about how bad I looked and asked if I was going on a date. (Yeah, thanks, Dad. :p )
  • The rash didn’t disappear when the other symptoms finally did.  It was basically a massive number of sores that took their own time to heal.
  • Even after the sores healed, the rash left dark, blotchy shadows on my face and body, under the skin.  It took weeks and weeks for the shadows to fade away gradually.

I could have infected lots of other people because I didn’t know I had a highly-contagious, potentially deadly virus. 

The 16-year-old me did all of these things on a regular basis:

  • Worked at a fast food restaurant
  • Went to school every day
  • Went shopping (tried on clothing, shoes and jewelry, and tested makeup)
  • Went swimming with friends
  • Hung out at friends’ homes
  • Ate at restaurants
  • Dated boys (and kissed them)
  • Cared for my toddler brother at home (feeding, dressing, child’s play, etc.)
  • My mom was pregnant at the time with our baby brother, or she got pregnant soon after that.

Who knows where I came in contact with the measles virus, but the list above indicates it could have been anywhere.  Kids and teenagers are constantly in contact with the world.

From the Mayo Clinic on how measles is spread:

  • Measles is a highly contagious illness caused by a virus that replicates in the nose and throat of an infected child or adult.
  • When someone with measles coughs, sneezes or talks, infected droplets spray into the air, where other people can inhale them.
  • The infected droplets may also land on a surface, where they remain active and contagious for several hours.
  • You can contract the virus by putting your fingers in your mouth or nose or rubbing your eyes after touching the infected surface.
  • About 90 percent of susceptible people who are exposed to someone with the virus will be infected.

When I finally healed, it was complete.  I was lucky.  Some common complications from measles are dangerous and/or permanent.

From the Mayo website on common complications from measles:

  • Ear problems.  One of the most common complications of measles is a bacterial ear infection.  Permanent hearing impairment can result.  
  • Bronchitis, laryngitis or croup. Measles may lead to inflammation of your voice box (larynx) or inflammation of the inner walls that line the main air passageways of your lungs (bronchial tubes).
  • Pneumonia. Pneumonia is a common complication of measles. People with compromised immune systems can develop an especially dangerous variety of pneumonia that is sometimes fatal.
  • Encephalitis. About 1 in 1,000 people with measles develops a complication called encephalitis. Encephalitis may occur right after measles, or it might not occur until months later.
  • Pregnancy problems. If you’re pregnant, you need to take special care to avoid measles because the disease can cause preterm labor, low birth weight and maternal death

Did I mention having measles was the most miserable I’ve ever been in my life?  It was.  Scary, too.  I don’t want to ever feel like that again.  I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  

Can I get measles again?  I asked my doc that this week, and the answer was “maybe”.  My choices are to get a test to see if I have the antibodies, or skip the test and go ahead and get the vaccine.  I’ve decided to get the test first, mainly to satisfy my curiosity.  Stay tuned….

More information on measles:

 

 

Next post shall be a return to more fun topics.

A tote for cornhole game bean bags

So, you’ve made a cool set of bean bags for your Cornhole game.  Now, how to transport them.  Grocery sack?  Old box?  Better, here’s a diy bean bag tote that will make you look like a pro.

IMG_20190601_204455660a

Finished tote dimensions are approximately 12″ x 6″ x 6″

Start with these pieces of sturdy fabric:

  • Bag 19″ x 11″ (cut 2)
  • Handles 15″ x 4″ (cut 2)
  • Center divider 7″ x 12″ (cut 1)

General Construction Steps:

  • Fold each handle strip the long way, right sides together, and sew lengthwise with a 1/4″ seam, to make a tube.  Turn right side out and press flat.
  • Fold center divider in half right sides together, to make a 7″ (h) x 6″ (w ) piece.  Sew two of the open sides with a 1/4″ seam.  Turn right side out, press and sew the open end shut.
  • Sew one of the side seams on the bag.  Reinforce with an extra row of stitching.  (I used French seams.) Hem the top edge.
  • Then finish and attach the handles; centered on each side.
  • Center the divider on one side of the bag and stitch it in place along one edge of the divider.

Your piece will now look something like this.  This view is the ‘inside’ of the bag laid out flat:

IMG_20190601_194036796a

A closer view of the measurements:

IMG_20190601_194041155a

  • Sew the other side seam and the bottom seam of the bag.  Reinforce both seams with an extra line of stitching or your preferred reinforcing method.

Your bag will now look something like this, turned inside out

IMG_20190601_195330958a

  • Measure and mark for mitering the bag corners.  The miter seam should be 5 1/2″ long (2 1/4″ from the center line.)

IMG_20190601_200624306a

The stitching line marked:

IMG_20190601_200628906a

  • The miter is stitched and then reinforced with a second row of stitching.

IMG_20190601_201430428a

  • Turn the bag right side out, and tack the mitered corner in place.

IMG_20190601_203321196a

  • Then repeat the steps for mitering the other corner.
  • And now finally, pin the other side of the center divider in place down the center of the other side of the bag.

IMG_20190601_203600357a

Stitch the divider in place.  (It will be awkward, sewing from inside the bag, but thankfully it’s just the one short seam.)  IMG_20190601_203851646a

The bag is finished!  IMG_20190601_204455660a

Options for personalizing your bean bag tote are endless.  Here’s a colorful bag made from a placemat and some scraps.

IMG_20190525_090517268aw RSRIMG_20190525_090452050 aw RSR

Here’s one I made out of the bag the corn came in.  Who could resist using a ‘whole corn’ bag to make a ‘corn hole’ bag.  I know, *groan*!

whole-corn-corn-hole-bag RSR

 

Making Cornhole Game Bean Bags

Yay, the season of outdoor get-togethers and yard games is upon us!  (Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and more.)  For my family, it started with Mother’s Day, when all of us sibs converged on Mom’s house for the weekend.  One of my jobs was to bring bean bags for the Cornhole game.  My brother made nice wood Cornhole boards, and I made a new set of bean bags.

Cornhole is a totally awesome game for tailgaters, festival goers, and family get-togethers.  It is a bean bag toss where you try to toss the bag through the hole in a board 20+ feet away.

The boards can be purchased or custom made.  Boards can have really lovely designs.  Here is a monogrammed set available on Amazon.

Cornhole boards on Amazon

The popularity of the game is evident from the range of products available on Amazon.

The bags can be purchased or easily homemade.

Bean bag specs:

  • A set of Cornhole bags is eight (8) bags–4 in one color, and 4 in a different, contrasting color.
  • The bean bags are square, made of cotton duck, or similar heavy duty fabric, and filled with feed corn or a synthetic material that resembles corn in weight and consistency.
  • Each finished bag should be 6 inches x 6 inches, and weigh 16 ounces when filled.

The internet has numerous tutorials on making Cornhole bean bags.   Do a search on Google and YouTube, and you’ll find some excellent instructions.

So, this post is less a tutorial, and more a compilation of tips I’ve picked up from making the bags.

Constructing the bags:

Start with 7″-7.5″ fabric squares.  You’ll need 16 squares for 8 bean bags.  Err on the side of cutting the squares larger, not smaller:

Squares pattern 2

Stack two squares, right-sides together and sew all sides with a 1/2 inch seam allowance, leaving a minimum 3-inch opening on one side, for adding the corn.

[Stitching lines and opening:]

Squares pattern with stitching lines 3

Reinforce the seams!  Reinforce by adding a second row of stitching in the seam allowance.  Then zig-zag or overlock the edges for even more reinforcement.

Squares pattern with stitching lines reinforced 3

[Alternatively, reinforce by sewing the edges with French Seams.  Tutorial here. ]

Then turn the bags right side out and get ready to fill them.

Filling the bags…

  • Whole corn for the filler can be purchased at a farm store or feed store.  The price is usually less than $10 for a 40-50 lb bag of corn.  I buy it at this regional store. https://www.atwoods.com/atwoods-whole-corn-40-lbs.html
  • Freeze the corn for 24-48 hours, to kill any little bugs and things that might be waiting to come out.
  • Before weighing, sift the corn through a colander to eliminate as much of the corn dust and other ‘stuff’ as you can.  Then measure out 15 – 15.5 ounces of corn for each bag.  The other .5 oz or so will come from the weight of the fabric.
  • With a funnel, load the measured corn into the bag.

A funnel made from a plastic gallon container works well because it has a big enough opening for the corn to pass through.  A standard kitchen funnel doesn’t have a big enough opening.

Funnel

To close off the bag, push the corn down in the bag as far as it will go, and then secure it there with pins or a long needle.  For this, I prefer to use a long ‘doll needle’.  The 5″ needle is easy to insert, and the one long needle holds everything in place.  (Actually, a doll needle comes in handy for so many things, that I recommend keeping one in the sewing kit.)

Doll Needle

Run-Sew-Read 2019

The picture below shows how the doll needle holds the corn back from the stitching area, to give you room to maneuver the open end of the bag under the presser foot.

Sewing the bag shut

That little bit of extra room in the top of the bag is important not just for room to sew, but also for the finished bag.  Bags stuffed too tight with corn can potentially burst on impact.

Remember to reinforce the closure with a second row of stitching, and maybe even a third row.

Run-Sew-Read 2019

Get creative with the bags!  Try patterns and fabric paints.

Finished bags 2 a RSR

Then, you are ready to play!

The bags (and extra corn) should be stored in a rodent-proof container.

Additional tips on bags and peace brought to you by John Lennon of Bag.

Bagism a

 

 

DIY Mini Rolling Pin (and making dog treats easy)

It was a drag, rolling out dough to fit my baking sheets.  The sheets are ‘jelly roll’ style, which means they are rimmed with a raised edge.  A regular rolling pin is too big to fit within the pan.  My option was to treat it like pastry dough; i.e., roll the dough out on the counter and measure it to fit the sheet, then carefully lift the dough and place it in the sheet; or press the dough into the sheet with my fingers and then roll it with whatever cylindrical gadget I could find to fit the pan.

Some of the gadgets I’ve tried; none of which worked out very well:

IMG_20190427_094616205w

Myrtle-the-pup loves homemade dog treats, and I enjoy making them.  So this issue of rolling out the dough was becoming an all-too-frequent annoyance.

The solution:  I bought a 1.25-inch diameter wood dowel from the craft aisle of the store.  It was $1.50.  They are sold in 3-foot lengths.  At home, with a little saw, I measured and cut a piece to the width of my baking sheet.  Then washed the new little ‘rolling pin’ and coated it with mineral oil.

IMG_20190427_090431927w

Now, a batch of dough goes from this…

IMG_20190427_084442213w

to this…

IMG_20190427_084629146w

to this with ease!

IMG_20190427_084835390w

For Myrtle’s treats, I score the dough before baking, to be broken into little squares later.  A pizza cutter works great for this.

IMG_20190427_085126271w

Don’t make the scoring tedious.  The pieces don’t have to be uniform in size or shape.

IMG_20190427_085200213w

(Yes, I have a dog bone-shaped cookie cutter.  But using it is a slow, tedious process.  I do use it for special gifts for Myrtle’s dog friends and cousins, but that’s all.)

After baking, the treats come out of the oven looking like this.

IMG_20190427_092555578w

After cooling, it only takes a minute or two to break them all up.

IMG_20190427_092938978w

I store the treats in an old Parmesan shaker, for easy dispensing.

IMG_20190427_093306732w

The dog treat recipe I used for this batch is the Apple-Carrot Treats from this page:

https://www.mybakingaddiction.com/homemade-dog-treats/  (The recipe is adapted from this one:  http://fortheloveofpooch.blogspot.com/ ).

The taste-tester approves.

IMG_20190427_093521413w

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

DIY Dollar Store phone case

Last month I ordered a new phone and case.  When they arrived, the case didn’t fit the phone.  Dollar Store to the rescue.  At the Dollar Store, I found some cases that were the correct width, but too short.  They were flexible material, so I decided to try cutting one to make it fit.  I bought two, in case I messed one up.  Here’s how the process went.

Cut the case in two, to increase the length.  The case is a rubbery material, so strong shears are needed.  I used kitchen shears.  (The picture below shows the finished black case on the right, and next to it the turquoise one in progress.)

IMG_20190325_093701252

This shows the additional length needed to fit over the phone.  Next I punched holes in both pieces, to stitch in a piece of fabric to bridge the gap.

IMG_20190417_080216157a

Marking and punching the holes:

The locations of the holes were first measured and marked, using a simple ruler and gel pen.

IMG_20190325_094058699a

A leather punch worked great for punching the holes.  My leather punch isn’t the exact one pictured, but is substantially similar.  It was $7 well spent.  I use the punch all the time for making belts fit, and numerous other ‘hacks’.  Click the picture to go to the punch on Amazon.

Leather punch from Amazon

When one side was punched…

IMG_20190325_094420475a

I used those holes to mark where to punch on the corresponding piece.  IMG_20190325_094553076IMG_20190325_095052635a

Then, using cotton yarn and a darning needle, I stitched a scrap of woven belting to each side, to bridge the gap.  Almost any durable fabric could be used.  Think denim, duck canvas, vinyl, etc.  Just make sure the edges are bound to prevent raveling.

Using the kitchen shears again, I adapted the back holes for the photo lens and sensor.  This first attempted adaptation wasn’t very pretty, but it did its job.  IMG_20190417_075932068a

On the other case, I omitted the fabric, and simply laced the two pieces together with elastic cord.

IMG_20190417_094745546a

The cord lacing fits as well as the fabric piece.  It was easier to do, and came out looking a lot nicer than the fabric, I think.

IMG_20190417_100432655a

Here’s a side view.  With the kitchen shears, I modified the side cutouts to match the control buttons on the phone.

IMG_20190417_075954000a

From the front, the cases look like this.

IMG_20190417_075925300bIMG_20190417_080206165b

The verdict:

The DIY cases worked out great.  They never came loose from the phone, and they did their job of protecting the phone while I ordered another case that was supposed to fit the phone.  When that case didn’t fit, I ordered a third case.  After three failed attempts to get a proper case, I gave up.  There were other issues with the phone too, so the phone was returned, and I ordered a different phone and case.  The DIY Dollar Store cases got me through while waiting for the ‘right’ phone and case to arrive, and they would have lasted a long time, if I’d kept that phone.



Have a lovely Easter.  We sang this in church on Easter morning when I was little.