Thursday, August 16, 2012

A few food recipes and ideas

Ice cream
So I won an ice cream competition last weekend while we were away.  I made my original recipe Cinnamon Crunch ice cream and submitted it in the contest at the embassy and what do know, I won both "best ice cream" and "most creative" categories.  Not too shabby.  It's my favorite ice cream recipe I've created and I'm going to share it with you!

It might help to familiarize yourself with my ice cream making tips and the sweet cream base recipe I use.  Once you've read that you can come back here for the Cinnamon Crunch details.

Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream: creamy cinnamon vanilla ice cream with a sugary butter oatmeal crunch
1 batch Sweet Cream Base (in the liquid form-not churned in the ice cream maker)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups oats
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 butter melted
pinch of salt

Add the cinnamon and vanilla to the sweet cream base and blend.  Refrigerate for at least a few hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  If you are using quick oats you can use a bowl.  If using whole oats use your food processor to chop the oats a bit first then just add the rest of the ingredients to the processor bowl.  Add the sugar, salt and melted butter and blend until combined and crumbly.  You don't want the mixture to be too wet; just barely coated with butter.  Spread the mixture on a cookie sheet and bake for approximately 8 minutes.  Check and shake the mixture often so you don't burn it.  You want the crunch to be dry and slightly browned.  Remove and let cool then place in a freezer bag in the freezer. This recipe makes enough for two batches of ice cream.  Don't worry once you make one batch, you'll be ready to make another a few days later!  It's that good.

When ready to make the ice cream churn the cinnamon vanilla ice cream until thick and creamy.  Pour in 1 cup of the crunch and let the machine churn it together.  Continue churning for a few minutes.  Transfer to your storage bowl and sprinkle a handful of the crunch on top.  Freeze overnight before serving. Enjoy!

With the new school year upon us and Addie adjusting to the long days, I am trying to have healthy snacks ready for her to bring to school and enjoy when she returns home.  One of her favorite lunch/snacks is homemade bagels.  We all love them and I've been trying to find creative ways to top them as cream cheese is hard to come by here.

My new favorite bagel topping is almond butter with toasted coconut sprinkled on top.  Any nut butter would be good but I recommend an all natural nut butter without sugar added.  The toasted coconut adds a bit of sweetness on it's own. Just toast sweetened flake coconut in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes until lightly browned. Try this!  It's so good.  It's beats peanut butter with honey any day
Chocolate cravings
About every 28 days I could post some sort of chocolate concoction on this blog that I've created to satiate the fierce cravings I get.  This time I was desperate for something chocolate the night we returned from Gonder.  I was just too darn exhausted to make anything from scratch so I frantically searched the kitchen and was pleasantly surprised with my solution.  I pulled a bit of frozen chocolate frosting from the freezer and dipped pretzels in it.  Sometimes the best food finds happen in moments of desperation.
The key to this being delicious is the quality of the frosting.  It was a bit of extra from a batch of cupcakes we made.  This chocolate frosting recipe is the very best.  It's my go-to and I don't think I'll ever need another one.  Spread it on graham crackers or dip apples or pretzels in it.  Serious yum.

(Slightly adapted by me)
Melt-In-Your-Mouth Chocolate Frosting from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Treats for Kids by Jill O'Connor.  (My favorite cookbook for sweets)

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sour cream (My adaptation is to use whipping cream when I can't find sour cream and it's also very good)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Large pinch of salt
1 lb powdered sugar

Melt chocolate with butter in the microwave.  Beat chocolate mixture with cream (sour or whipping), vanilla and salt with a mixer adding powdered sugar gradually until smooth.  Freeze what you don't use on your cake or cupcakes.

That should take care of your chocolate craving and your salt one too since pretzels give you that nice salt sweet taste.

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