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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bacon Ice Cream

Oh yes, that's not a typo.  We made bacon ice cream!

While browsing through one of Hillbilly's pork newsletters last week, I came across this recipe for Bacon Ice Cream.  We're always up for trying something new and thought that this sounded like such fun!

5 strips bacon
2 T. brown sugar (light or dark)
3 T. butter
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
2 3/4 c. half and half
5 egg yolks
2 t. dark rum or whiskey
1/4 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. ground cinnamon

Preheart oven to 400 degrees

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, shiny side down.  Lay the strips of bacon out.  Sprinkle bacon with 2 T. brown sugar.

A quick note:  When choosing bacon, choose a product labeled "center cut".  Look for strips with long stripes of lean from one end of the strip to the other.  These strips should cook up nice and flat.

Bake bacon 12-16 minutes.  Half way through baking, flip bacon over and coat with syrupy liquid that has formed.  Bake until bacon strips are dark mahogany in color. Remove bacon from oven and cool.

Once cooled, chop bacon into rice size bits.  (We found it worked best to place the bacon in the freezer before and after chopping.)

The Bug enjoyed inspecting Daddy's knife skills.  No worries, the bottle on the left was not for the little man!

To make the custard, melt the butter in a heavy medium sized saucepan.  Stir in the brown sugar and half of the half and half.  Pur the remaining half and half into an bowl set in an ice bath and set a mesh strainer over the top.

In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks, then gradually add some of the warm brown sugar mixture to temper them, whisking constantly as you pour.  Pour the mixture back in the saucepan.

Cook over low to moderate heat, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom of the saucepan with your spatula, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spatula.

Strain the custard into the cold half and half, stirring over the ice bath, until cool.  (You'll need at least 4 sets of hands at this point!)  Add liquor, vanilla and cinnamon.

Refridgerate the mixture.  Once thoroughly chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturere's instructions.  Add the bacon bits during the last momen of churning, or stir in once the ice cream is removed from the machine.

The ice cream was incredibly rich, and tasted a lot like egg nog.  The bacon added a nice little savory balance. 

This was the perfect Father's Day suprise for our favorite hog farmer, Pop Pop!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Celebrate the Sewing Machine

I heard a rumor that I missed a big holiday.  Can you guess?  National Sewing Machine Day!  June 13th was the day that the sewing machine was invented. 
(It turns out there is some descrepency as to when the real National Sewing Machine Day occurs.  Hallmark says that it happens on September 10th.  I hear they even have cards for it!)

Growing up, my parents had one of these in their home.

Much more a piece of decor than a necessary machine.  I used to love to play with the pedals and watch the wheel on the side spin.  Now that I'm thinking about it, perhaps this is what began my facination with sewing.

I thought that I'd share with you my "Babies' that I use now.

First up, my trusty Janome.  This simple workhorse was a college graduation gift from my mother.  She couldn't imagine sending me across the midwest to my own apartment in Kansas City without a sewing machine.  It is a wonderful basic model, and has never failed me.  Through pillows, handbags, and now primarily shirring, this is the machine that I will always keep with me.

Next up, my sweet "Baby".

This is the machine that use the most.  It converts from a sewing machine to an embroidery machine, which has been such fun.  It allows be to do all kinds of decorative stitches and appliqued shirts.  It was a big step up for me as far as technology, but simple enough to not be too intimidating.

Finally, my serger.  My Singer Ultralock was purchased for my 4th year in 4-H. 

We were making shorts for my sewing project that year, and needed to have more professionaly finished seams.  My mom and I learned a valuable lesson, stitch first, serge second!  My first pair of shorts was done completely on the serger, and came out way too tight!  Serged seams are hard to rip out, and the serger cuts fabric and finishes the seams as you go, so there was no way to let the shorts out for more room.  Off to the store we went, another round of fabric was purchased, and we learned to stitch on the sewing machine first to make sure the fit was perfect.

I hope that you enjoyed this little glimpse into my sewing world.  If you sew, do you have a favorite machine?  If not, do you have a dream machine? 

My dream machine is this guy.  Oh the possiblities!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My New Sewing Buddies

Meet my new sewing buddies!

Lollie Pop (Lollie)


Herbie the Furrby!
Herbie was born with ulcers on his eyes.  He was basically blind when he came into the shelter, but with proper medication is now able to see.  His sight continues to improve each day.

These little guys are approximately 6 weeks old.  Once they grow to 2 lbs, we'll send them to the Hamilton Country Humane Society to be adopted to their forever families.  Until then, I'm enjoying lots of sweet cuddles and purrs.

Fostering has been a wonderful way for me to share my love of animals with our kiddos.  The Bug loves feeding the kittens, helping with their medications, and of course snuggling with them.

If you are interested in adopting either of these sweet babies, please feel free to shoot me a message!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My New Pin Caddy

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that make you smile.  Today, it's my new magnetic pin caddy!

Not only does it grab any stray pins and hang to them with all it's might, it places them in a neat row.  The result, I no longer prick my finger when grabbing a new pin! 

It even has a nice little cover to keep my pins secure when I head off to crafty night!  Love it!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Lake Effect

It happens in our home every May. 

I start to get antsy.
I start to get crabby.
I start to hear those darn "Pure Michigan" commercials on the radio, promising white sand and clear waters.
I need to head North!

Fresh air.  A warm fire.  Sandy beaches.  Clear blue water.

Mama catching some extra snuggles in the cottage with E Lo.

Daddy and The Bug warming up by the fire.

Jake, wondering when he'll get to fetch.  50 degrees and rainy doesn't stop him.

The Big Lake is the perfect playground for a labby.

Dance-off in the sand.

The dunes are the ultimate playground. 

The weather surely will be warmer the next time we head North.  If not, we'll build another fire, toast some s'mores, and enjoy not looking at our watches!