Monthly Archives: July 2010

Homemade Ice Cream

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream


When I was growing up, homemade ice cream was a simple fact at summertime celebrations. We simply always had it. After a trip to Owasso to the automated ice house – where one put in a coin (a quarter? surely more than a dime?) and down the shaft and out the door shot a huge solid block of ice – my mother would stir up a batch of mix for the ice cream freezer.

I suppose there were electric machines available then, but I’d never seen any and we certainly didn’t have one. Ours was the old-fashioned hand crank type. The women were always in the house where it was cool-er (no a/c), and the men would gather outside by the water hydrant (I don’t know why that was the designated spot, but it just was) to chop up the block of ice with an ice pick and take turns at turning the crank. Just who the men were besides Daddy and my older brother is lost in the mists of my memory. Probably uncles and maybe cousins and certainly my brother’s friends. What I can remember is the good-natured buzz of conversation and how that was the place I was drawn to.

Inevitably, I would beg for a turn at the crank and Daddy would try to talk me out of it, telling me that I wouldn’t like it because it was hard to turn. But I would insist that I could do it and he would let me try. About 2 rounds, maybe 3. It was really stiff and more than my skinny little arms could handle. Then I’d drift back and forth between the women and the men, asking if it was ready yet. It took forever. About 30 – 45 minutes.

Joe and I bought our first freezer during our second year of marriage. It was kind of a big deal because we didn’t have a lot of spending money and $15.00 was a lot back when minimum wage was $1.65 an hour. That one is long gone and we’re about to wear out our 4th one. Nothing fancy for us; we’re not the kind of people who have new-fangled gadgets like the kind that doesn’t take ice or ice cream salt (although I am curious). Not even a White Mountain (on sale: $248.00). We buy cheap ones at Wal-Mart and our current one was an end of season close-out that cost $9.00.

For some reason, we’ve made more this summer than ever before in any one season. We do like our snacks and summer in the south is just too hot to keep the oven long enough to bake 4 trays of cookies (always one tray at a time) or a pie or even a cake. Our summertime desserts are usually No Bake Cookies, Rice Krispie Treats or homemade ice cream.

Homemade Vanilla w/ syrup and pecans
(The photograph above also has Sweet and Spicy Pecans from Ravelin Bakery in Denton, Texas. Sandra posted a similar recipe on her blog.)

Last week was the first time we’ve ever made vanilla. I don’t care for vanilla unless it is topped with strawberries or peaches or chocolate syrup or an accompaniment to cake, so we’ve always made a flavor. Our usual choices are banana nut, strawberry or peach. If we don’t have any fresh fruit, then we make chocolate. Once, years ago, we made blackberry. It was a lovely shade of purple, but please learn from my mistakes and strain out the seeds first. Sheesh.

The reason for making plain vanilla? It was a special request from our 5 year old grandson. So we added an extra egg, more vanilla extract and increased the heavy cream to make it a little more special.

We use the same basic recipe, with a few variations which I’ll list at the bottom.

*This recipe uses raw eggs. There are lots of recipes available for a cooked custard ice cream, which I’ve never tried myself.

BASIC HOMEMADE ICE CREAM – makes 1 gallon
In a blender, mix:
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
dash salt
1 cup of milk
2 cups heavy cream
fruit – about 3 bananas and a dash of nutmeg or 2 cups of strawberries or 5 peaches, peeled and pitted

Blend until smooth. Pour into ice cream freezer container. Add another cup of chopped fresh fruit cut into 1/2″ pieces. For Banana add 1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts.

Fill container with whole milk up to the fill line.

Place container into bucket and lock on the motor. Add alternate layers of ice and rock salt and plug it in and let the motor turn until it stops (check on it every few minutes and add more ice and salt as needed) which will be anywhere from half an hour to an hour.

Important: Before taking off the lid, brush off all the ice and salt and pull the container up out of the water/ice mixture. I didn’t do this one time and salt got into the ice cream and it was inedible. Now I even slowly pour about a cup of water over the lid before removing it to make sure that no salt will invade the mixture.

It will probably be very soft right after the motor stops. My dad always let it set to “cure” but I usually can’t wait, so we have a serving right away. Joe has put the Tupperware box in the freezer ahead of time so that the ice cream doesn’t melt even a little bit in a room temperature container.

This recipe makes a very scoop-able ice cream (after sitting in the deep freeze for a few hours) but the texture is going to be different than a commercial product. It’s not that it has ice crystals (it doesn’t) but it’s just not as slick and smooth. I like that about it and I really like the incredibly fresh and pungent flavor that the fruit gives it. All natural. No artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.


CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM
Use the same basic recipe as above, but omit the fruit and add 1/2 cup powdered cocoa (not the drink mix) and 1 cup of chopped nuts. Joe likes to add chocolate chips in the blender; I don’t because no matter how long I blend it, it still has hard little bits of the choc. chips.

VARIATIONS
1 can of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk can be substituted for the heavy cream then reduce sugar to 1 cup. When I’ve done this, it was because I was out of cream, but had the Eagle Brand and some Carnation canned milk, which I also used. The outcome will be different than with the cream, but it’s probably lower in cholesterol.

Once I didn’t have any whole milk or cream, and used 1 can of Carnation and reconstituted dry milk. This is probably much, much healthier than the cream & whole milk type, but is more like ice milk than ice cream.

It’s also a nice touch to put the serving bowls in the freezer ahead of time, especially if you’re going to be eating it outside.

As I said, after being in the deep freeze awhile, it makes nice scoops. Joe put the scoops into Braum’s (a nice Oklahoma company) ice cream cones for our grandsons, poured some sprinkles in a bowl and dipped them. They thought it was grand.

This post linked to:
Frugal Friday @ Life as Mom
Food on Friday @ annkroeker

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Filed under Childhood pastimes, Cooking, Family, Food, Making Do, Recipes

The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947 – 1957, Part II


Evening dress (on the cover) by Pierre Balmain. Printed silk, 1957.

Evening dress by Jean Desses


Dress designed by Jean Desses, modeled by Jeannie Patchett, photographed by Norman Parkinson, 1950.


“Cygne Noir” (Black Swan), designed by Christian Dior in faille and silk velvet. Autumn/Winter 1949-50 collection. Given to the V&A by Baroness Antoinette de Ginsbourg.

Photograph by Cecil Beaton, 1953


Surprisingly for such a beautiful dress, there’s no more information included in the book, other than the year and the photographer.

All photographs taken from “The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947 – 1957“, edited by Claire Wilcox.

Second in my series on the Victoria & Albert Museum Couture exhibit at the Frist Center in Nashville. Click here for the first post.

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Filed under 1940s, 1949, 1950s, 1953, 1957, Books, Clothing, Fashion, Femininity

The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947 – 1957

While we were in Nashville a few weeks ago, Joe took me to the Frist Center to see The Golden Age of Couture Exhibit, organized by London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. The Frist is the only place the exhibit will be shown in the United States.

Postcard of Evening dress in silk taffeta by Crisobal Balenciag;, Paris, about 1955

Below are a few of the first pages of the Guide Book, giving a brief overview of some of the features of the exhibit. (Clicking on the pictures will enlarge them enough to read, and clicking on the magnifying glass will increase the size even further. Please excuse the notes I made.)

The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947 – 1957 will run through September 12, 2010. According to the Frist website, the exhibition broke all records when it opened at the Victoria & Albert in 2007. It was a wonderful exhibit and if Nashville is at all accessible to you or you are especially interested in fashion history or beautiful clothes, it is well worth the trip.

One added bonus was getting to “people watch”. It was an interesting mix of attendees, and I did notice that several of the younger women were more attractively dressed than most of us who can remember this time period.

Over the next few days, please check back to see photos from the lovely book I bought in the gift shop.

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Filed under 1940s, 1950s, Clothing, Current Events, England, Events & Museums, Fashion, Femininity, Fun, Gloves, History, Internet links, Jewelry, Purses, Tennessee

Songs about Geographical America


This was a fun list that Joe and I came up with: all the songs we could think of that are about American states, cities, rivers, regions, streets. They don’t have to be specifically about the namesake, but just have a word in the title or be about one. When finetune.com was still allowing individual playlists, I set one up with a lot of these songs.

If you can think of any we missed, please leave it in a comment. Some are a little bit of a stretch -like Georgia Brown; and Never Been to Spain, despite having a foreign country in the title mentions being born in Oklahoma (and is my favorite 3 Dog Night song. I can’t tell you the thrill it gave me when those first a Capella words sang out over the radio in 1972! It always brought a smile to my face.).

OUR COUNTRY
America the Beautiful
American Patrol
Battle Hymn of the Republic
Coming to America
God Bless America
God Bless the U.S.A.
My Country ‘Tis of Thee
The Star Spangled Banner
This Land is Your Land

STATES
Sweet Home Alabama
North to Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas Traveler
California Girls
California Here I Come
California Nights
It Never Rains in California
The Devil Went Down to Georgia
Georgia on My Mind
Sweet Georgia Brown
Blue Hawaii
Hawaii 5-0
Indiana Wants Me
Kentucky Rain
My Old Kentucky Home
Never Been to Spain
Oklahoma!
Oklahoma Hills
Pennsylvania 6-5000
Ballad of Davy Crockett (Born on a mountain top in Tennessee…)
All My Ex’s Live in Texas
Deep in the Heart of Texas
Texas, My Texas
Yellow Rose of Texas
Carry Me Back to Old Virginny
The Virginian

TOWNS and CITIES
Abilene
Allentown
Ashokan Farewell
Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe
Buffalo Gals
Shuffle Off to Buffalo
Camptown Races
Chattanooga Choo Choo
Theme from Cheyenne
Theme from Chicago Hope
Chicago, My Kind of Town
El Paso
Galveston
Gary, Indiana (from the Music Man and submitted by Sandra)
Houston
Jackson
Everything’s Up to Date in Kansas City
Kansas City
Luckenbach, Texas
Viva Las Vegas
Memphis
Theme from Miami Vice
Okie from Muskogee
Nashville Cats
Battle of New Orleans
City of New Orleans
New York, New York
Sidewalks of New York
Meet Me in St. Louis
St. Louis Blues March
San Antonio Rose
San Francisco
Tallahassee Lassie
Living on Tulsa Time
Take Me Back to Tulsa
Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa
Washington Post March
Wichita Lineman

STREETS and ROADS
Basin St. Blues
45 Minutes to Broadway
On Broadway
42nd Street
Get Your Kicks on Route 66
Route 66
Take Me Home, Country Roads

RIVERS & WATER
Red River Valley
Old Man River
Shenandoah
Swannee
Way Down Upon the Swanee River

REGIONS
Remember the Alamo
Theme from the Alamo
Appalachian Spring
Blue Bayou
Dixie
Rocky Mountain High
Yankee Doodle
Yankee Doodle Dandy

Somewhere Over the Rainbow should be listed, but I’m not sure whether it would be The Country, or States (Kansas).

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Filed under America, Fun, Made in the U.S.A., Music

On having an open mind


“An open mind, in questions that are not ultimate, is useful. But an open mind about the ultimate foundations either of Theoretical or of Practical Reason is idiocy.”

C.S. Lewis
from “The Abolition of Man”

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Filed under C.S. Lewis, Faith

Sweet Talcum Powder

One of my favorite passages from Harper Lee’s book “To Kill a Mockingbird” is:


“Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.”

Many ways of life have changed since I was a girl, and true to my aging, I don’t think hardly any of them are for the better. And being from the south, one of the things I miss on a daily basis is floral scented talcum powder. When I was a girl, a lovely scented powder could be bought at the dime store.


Powder was available in a variety of fragrances, even at Dime stores. Brands such as Cashmere Bouquet and Evening in Paris were sold for very little money, therefore ladies in any income bracket could afford it.

If you had an Avon Lady, she would bring it to your door. It came in boxes,

Or tins.

One of my favorites as a girl was Here’s My Heart.

If you needed a new powder box and puff, that was available, too.  There was a wide variety, everything from less than a dollar, to something very nice from a department store.

I miss powder.  Yes, I know.  I’ve read the stories about how it can cause ovarian cancer. Flirting with danger is never advisable, but it mystifies me how people can excuse driving after drinking – immediate death – and cringe and swoon over bath powder. Sifted cornstarch can make a passable substitute if one wants to avoid the danger.

We live out in a rural area. Wal-Mart just does not carry enough to choose from. They have Shower to Shower, generic Shower to Shower, baby powder and some in plastic containers with a thin puff. The drug stores don’t offer anything better. The discount perfume stores at the mall in the city carry some nice ones for about $12.00, but I just don’t want to spend $12.00 a month on powder.


The absolutely loveliest I’ve ever had was Pretty by Elizabeth Arden. My husband’s employer gave out Red Door gift cards for the spouses that was one of the things I bought. Apparently, Pretty is now running over $35.00, so I’ll just have to wait and hope for another gift card.

Well, here’s what I do: I buy the cheap baby powder from either Wal-Mart or the dollar store, pry off the plastic lid and add essential oil to it. The ones that I usually use are lavender, carnation, and jasmine – about 4 drops each. (Peppermint would be a fun one to use at Christmas time.) I let it sit for a couple of weeks, shaking it up every now and then. And then I pour it into my powder box.

It doesn’t fool me into thinking that I’m using Oscar de la Renta or Pretty, but it’s nicer and more feminine than Shower to Shower. And it costs a whole lot less than $37.50.

Now, if I just knew a good source for a nice fluffy puff….

This post linked to Frugal Friday @ Life as Mom where there are lots and lots of links to frugal postings.

*Update, November 16, 2011: The last time I added essential oils to a basic powder it took a little more than I remember. This is something that needs to be adjusted by each person to suit their own preferences as to more or less fragrance.

Also, Dollar Tree sells a lavender scented body powder made in the U.S.A. Considering that it sells for merely $1.00, it’s surprisingly quite nice.

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Filed under Books, Femininity, Fiction, Making Do, Shopping, Thrift, Using What You Have

C.S. Lewis: How to avoid God

Franklin, Tennessee

“How, then, it may be asked, can we either reach or avoid Him?

The avoiding, in many times and places, has proved so difficult that a very large part of the human race failed to achieve it. But in our own time and place it is extremely easy. Avoid silence, avoid solitude, avoid any train of thought that leads off the beaten track. Concentrate on money, sex, status, health and (above all) on your own grievances. Keep the radio on. Live in a crowd. Use plenty of sedation. If you must read books, select them very carefully. But you’d be safer to stick to the papers. You’ll find the advertisements helpful; especially those with a sexy or a snobbish appeal.”

C.S. Lewis
This is an except from his essay “The Seeing Eye” and included in the book “The Seeing Eye and Other Selected Essays from Christian Reflections “. The essay was first published in the American periodical Show with the title of “Onward, Christian Spacemen” in February, 1963 (the title of which was chosen by the editors of Show). Walter Hooper the editor of “The Seeing Eye” changed the title out of respect for Lewis, who disliked the Spacemen title.

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Filed under 1960's, 1963, Books, C.S. Lewis, England, Faith

When the news Isn’t the news

The current brouhaha over the comments and subsequent firing of Shirley Sherrod as the director of rural development in Georgia for the Department of Agriculture is a story on many levels. However, if a person is contented to just sit back and have their news fed to them by the mainstream media, they will only know the part of the story that they want you to know.

Over the years I’ve learned to listen closely and read between the lines of “news” agency or network news stories. The AP story on Yahoo news had a faint whiff of something not-right. Aha! towards the end of the item, Mary Clare Jalonick and Ben Evans wrote: “Biggovernment.com is the same outfit that gained fame last year after airing video of workers at the community group ACORN counseling actors posing as a prostitute and her boyfriend. ”

Same “outfit”? Outfit?? That’s not a term that a journalist would use. That’s a term for a hack or worse. Yes, there are writers that are worse than hacks. They’re the ones that color their writing with nuances, to influence the reader to agree with them without them realizing that they have been influenced. That’s not journalism. It’s cloaking an editorial to look like a news story.

And “outfit” was a pejorative that my daddy used. It wasn’t flattering.

So I went to the Big Government site to see what they had to say. They had very little to actually say – they let Sherrod speak for herself.

Click here for her full speech.

Click here to hear her lamenting about black people selling their land to whites.

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Filed under Current Events, Internet links

It’s What You Do With What You’ve Got That Counts

Sometimes I get a little behind reading my favorite blogs. I was doing a little catch-up yesterday when I discovered this poem on Sandra’s “Add Humor to Faith…mix well”.

Sandra’s mother had written a book of her own memories and at the back of it had recorded songs and poems she’d learned as a girl. This one her father had taught her and it’s a very clever play on words.

One comment on the post mentioned that children don’t seem to commit things to memory as they did in past days. My own public schooling began in 1960 and we seemed to be at the tail-end of that method of learning. We were assigned to memorize the first bit of the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution and the Gettysburg address. To my discredit, I don’t think I ever completely memorized any of these except the Preamble.

In this science fiction age of instant internet information (not all of which is accurate), some think that memorization is passe. I disagree.

My mother has been a good example to me all my life,- in the importance of memorization, as well as many other things. Even at 95, legally blind and suffering from Alzheimer’s, she’s still a good example.

She was always a great reader and I treasure that legacy from her. Sadly, her ability to comprehend started failing about the same time as her eyesight. Her memory has a lot of holes in it, but she has retained the songs and poems she learned as a child. The thieving Alzheimer’s may cloud her recognition of me at times, but she can still recite “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” and praise God with hymns. It’s amazing and I rejoice at her memory which remains.

A pleasant childhood memory of mine, is hearing her singing hymns in her sweet soprano voice as she went about her housework. (She worked in a faded housedress and an apron because you took care of your better clothes and saved them for visiting or going to town. But the cotton work dresses and aprons were always clean and ironed.)

She was full of old sayings for every occasion. My sister recalls that they were sometimes contradictory. Mama would say “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” as well as “Out of sight, out of mind.”

The one that Mama always lived by was “It’s what you do with what you’ve got that counts.” Make the best of the situation. (I doubt she ever heard the phrase “if life gives you lemons – make lemonade” but it surely fit) Even if you don’t have what you need to do the optimum, do something; do what you can.

That attitude kept her going when her home in Kentucky was under water (up to the roof) for 2 weeks in 1937. She and her parents lost almost everything due to the severe flooding and they became homeless. She had recently married and her husband had gone to Indiana to find work. Shortly after the flood, he wrote her that he didn’t want to be married anymore. She brushed off the river mud and moved to Texas, which required a one year’s residency before filing for divorce.

She stayed with relatives until she found a job at a Mexican restaurant. A uniform was required, so she sewed her own and hand washed and ironed it every night in the room she rented. And even though the salary was only $1.00 a day + tips (and she always said that during the Depression you didn’t get many tips), her rent was $3.00 a week. After a year, she had bought new clothes, saved money and obtained her divorce and moved on to California. About 5 years later, she married my dad who had also been kicked around by life, but he had the same confidant, forward-looking attitude that she had.

So although Stella Sexton had lost all her worldly goods in the flood and was left homeless and rejected by her first husband, she didn’t spend any time feeling sorry for herself. She did what she could with what she had.

And that’s what my mother is still doing.

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Filed under 1930s, 1937, Aging, Alzheimer's, Faith, Family, Heros, Internet links, Kentucky, Making Do, Thrift, Using What You Have, Vicissitudes of Life

Fashion Details, 1890 – 1895

Taken from the book “Costume 1066 – 1966” by John Peacock, pages 104 & 105

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Filed under 19th Century, Books, Fashion