If you haven’t made homemade ice cream before, I encourage you to try it! There is something quite special about making your own summer dessert, something industrious about getting out the ice cream machine, and something magical about lifting off the cover and seeing that your cream custard has transformed into a frozen treat!
The recipe I share below is fairly straightforward and has always produced great results.
Start with an egg custard cooked on the stove (it’s not as complicated as it sounds!).
After the custard has cooked, strain it to remove any solids from the eggs.
Here you’ll mix in half-and-half, whipping cream, and vanilla, and chill for around an hour.
Next pour it into the canister, add ice & rock salt all around…and turn on the machine.
In less than an hour, you can have yummy, creamy deliciousness!
After removing the paddle, fold in the crushed cookies. (Never works to add when the canister is spinning — the cookies just dissolve!) Then I pour the “soft-serve” into a shallow plastic container and freeze for 5-6 hours. You can also serve it just like this. It’s yummy either way.
Do you like to make homemade ice cream? What’s your favorite kind? I’d love to know — please leave a comment!
I first learned about this wonderful cream, sometimes called Rosemary’s Perfect Cream, from my niece, 6 or 7 years ago. Originally created by Rosemary Gladstar, this recipe is floating around different sites on the Internet, and there is a wonderful how-to video on YouTube featuring Ms. Gladstar. The first time I made it I was astounded! I had made my own beautiful, rich, face cream, and it was a pretty easy process.
I Love This Moisturizer
It is luscious — lightweight, creamy, mild, non-irritating. . . You can customize this cream however you like. You decide which types oils to use (avocado, apricot kernel, coconut, almond oil), you decide if you would like to have a scent (lavender, rosewater, orange, almond) or none at all. And you decide how thick you want it to be. Use this as a face cream or a body lotion. In fact, you can make the recipe using only the “oils” ingredients, and make yourself a thick balm that is terrific for soothing rough, dry winter skin. Be creative with it — or follow the recipe exactly.
It’s Easy to Make
The recipe is divided into two ingredient types — waters and oils. Combine the waters in one container, and in another bowl, melt the oils and cool to room temp. Then put oils in a blender, turn the blender on medium and slowly drizzle in the waters. Once the waters are all poured in, you may want to turn off the motor a moment and use a small spatula to incorporate all the oils from the corners into the center. Turn the motor back on, and soon you will hear the motor slow down, as the cream begins to thicken. When it slows way down — Voilá — Parfait! You have Rosemary’s Perfect Cream:)
I prefer using jars that have easy-on, easy-off lids. I’ve found it’s easiest to use jars with a wide opening, that aren’t too deep. I’ve bought glass jars from The Container Store and plastic jars from Amazon. I also use a mason jar to store a larger batch and then decant it into smaller jars as needed. Some people recommend storing this cream in the fridge. I store it in my pantry when it’s in a mason jar, or on the kitchen counter and bathroom vanity in smaller jars. I have never had an issue with the cream going bad.
Some of the benefits of making and using this moisturizer: it’s a wonderful, effective, and rich moisturizer; it’s made with natural ingredients you can easily ID and pronounce; it is customizable to your preferences; make it all organic if you choose; it’s easy to make a fresh batch; it is cost effective; it makes a wonderful and unique gift for teachers, co-workers, your favorite barista . . . everyone loves receiving and using Rosemary’s Perfect Cream!
I hope you will try making a batch yourself. Please let me know, in the comments section, when you make it, how you like it, or if you have questions about it! Happy blending:)
Waters 2/3 cup distilled water (or rose water) 1/3 cup aloe vera gel 1 or 2 drops essential oil of your choice Vitamins A and E as desired
Oils 3/4 cup apricot, almond, or grapeseed oil 1/3 cup coconut oil or cocoa butter 1/4 teaspoon lanolin 1/2 to 1 ounce grated beeswax
Combine the waters in a glass measuring cup. Set aside. In a double boiler over low heat, combine the oils. Heat them just enough to melt. Pour the oils into a blender and let them cool to room temperature. The mixture should become thick, creamy, semisolid, and cream-colored. This cooling process can be hastened in the refrigerator, but keep an eye on it so it doesn’t become too hard. When the mixture has cooled, turn on the blender at its highest speed. In a slow, thin drizzle, pour the water mixture into the center vortex of the whirling oil mixture. When most of the water mixture has been added to the oils, listen to the blender and watch the cream. When the blender coughs and chokes and the cream looks thick and white, like buttercream frosting, turn off the blender. You can slowly add more water, beating it in by hand with a spoon, but don’t overbeat. The cream will thicken as it sets. Pour into cream or lotion jars and store in a cool location.
[For “1969 Poodle Wall Plaque” giveaway, see end of post and leave a comment!]
Do you ever go “thrifting”? The phrase is trending, but the act itself has been around for decades. As a teenager (early 1980s), I loved heading to Little 5 Points, in Atlanta, to visit the vintage clothes stores (Stefan’s, Junkman’s Daughter) and then head over to the AMVETS thrift store on Moreland Avenue, for hours of perusing. I scored all kinds of wonderful, magical things in those shops…clothes, of course, but also jewelry (they don’t make ‘em like they used to!!) shoes, purses, scarves, gloves, and at AMVETS they sold household items as well — I got some fantastic blown glass vases and some glasses, framed art, all the fun stuff! I still have a lot of the things I bought. Some are put away in boxes, but some are out, about my home, and I enjoy them every day!
Currently I frequent just two thrift shops in the Atlanta area, City Thrift in Lilburn, GA and the Goodwill near my home in Peachtree Corners. I have scored some SERIOUS loot at these places! I want to share some of the amazing finds I’ve had recently, and how I’ve upcycled some of the items. I also want to note how appreciative I am that people are willing to take the time to donate items they no longer need.
Visiting a thrift shop can be overwhelming, so I have a few tips to share for folks who are interested.
Tip 1 — Visit often, keep it short.
I found that if I visit the shop often, say — once a week, and stay for about 30 minutes, I tend to be able to spot great stuff easily. Some items will stay on the shelves for weeks, so if you visit regularly you will stop noticing the things that don’t interest you and be able to recognize the new inventory. Taking in everything on the shelves or racks can be overwhelming. Thirty minutes is about the maximum time I can focus while thrifting, too.
Tip 2 — Focus on one or two departments per trip.
This is related to my first tip: One thrifting trip might be a visit down all the “home goods” aisles — kitchen items, home decor, small appliances, and outdoor decor such as flower pots and garden items. In another visit, focus on shoes, handbags, belts, hats/scarves, and jewelry. Or focus on looking at just jackets and sweaters. My brain gets foggy when I try to take on much more than that. I do admit, I always head straight to the small appliances, though, every single visit. I am obsessed with finding espresso machines — I’ve found three so far (gifted them to two of my sons)!
Tip 3 — Fuel yourself!
Make sure you aren’t hungry, thirsty, or in need of a bathroom visit. Sorta ruins the fun otherwise…
Tip 4 — Keep your eye out for the unusual, and keep an open mind!
Most everything is cheap in a thrift store. If something really catches my eye, I will buy it even if I don’t want to keep it “forever”. As my sister-in-law once said, “Think of it as a rental program! Buy it, enjoy it a while, then re-donate it!” That actually makes a lot of sense to me. I’ve always been of the mindset that, when I buy something, I’m going to always have it, and I’d better make the best use of what I have. I do that to a degree, but thrift shop items are low cost, and it can be fun to buy something a little outside my comfort zone or my taste, and get creative with it! Upcyling (refashioning something thought to be useless into something of greater value) can be delightful and rewarding, too!
Tip 5 — Prepare for AMAZING finds!
Read on to see the fantastical stuff I’ve found while thrifting!
More kitchen and housewares
Unicorn Thrifting Find — A 3-D Printer
Do you enjoy thrifting? Have you had fun and success, upcyling? I’d love to read about your experiences. Please share in the comments!
***If you’d like to enter my Thrifted Giveaway, (randomly chosen 4/30/21) to become the lucky owner of this adorable pair of 1969 Miller Studios Poodle Wall Plaques, please leave a comment below!***
PANTONE Color System is best known for its PMS (Pantone Matching System). This color matching system is used internationally among designers in graphic, interior, and product design, and printing. The system is used to assure that colors are accurate when products go into production regardless of the various equipment used, whether by professional designers or amateur artists.
Starting in 2000, PANTONE assigns a Color of the Year annually, to provide a cohesiveness across design industries. Complimenting lifestyles with color, they declare, “has always been an integral part of how a culture expresses the attitudes and emotions of the times.” All design industries immediately engaged in this approach and this resulted in a unified theme across genres of design, connecting color ideas in clothing, to interiors, to products and even printed materials.
Last year’s color, Classic Blue (PANTONE 14-4052), offered peacefulness with a sense of elegance. Announced well before we were all sequestered by the pandemic, PANTONE still saw the need for “reassurance, confidence and connection that people may be searching for in an uncertain global milieu.” As the year unfolded, PANTONE executive director Leatrise Eiseman suggested how appropriate the themes of “tranquility,” “clarity,” and “restfulness” continued to be, and encouraged incorporating them into our lives through the Classic Blue color.
Looking ahead to 2021, this year offers much promise to many. In presenting two independent colors, Illuminating Yellow (PANTONE 13-0647) and Ultimate Gray (PANTONE 17-5104), PANTONE hopes to encourage “people to look for ways to fortify themselves with energy, clarity, and hope to overcome the continuing uncertainty, spirited and emboldening shades satisfy our quest for vitality.”
“PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power. PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray is emblematic of solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation. The colors of pebbles on the beach and natural elements whose weathered appearance highlights an ability to stand the test of time, Ultimate Gray quietly assures, encouraging feelings of composure, steadiness and resilience.” PANTONE announcing 2021 Color of the Year
Even though the Color of the Year was announced in December 2020, the nature of the colors selected lend themselves to Springtime decorating! I’ve collected some images that may inspire you to incorporate these colors into your home decor. No need to change your whole design theme, just add these colors as you are inspired! When used as accents, they are harmonious with most palettes. For 2021, PANTONE offers “A marriage of color conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting.”
I have a spot in my kitchen that is all set up for making espresso drinks. I can remember how, when I was growing up in the 70s, my mother would sit for hours and hours at the kitchen table with her sister and their friends, laughing, talking, and pouring and sipping their coffee. Mama drank hers black. She liked good strong coffee! Coffee for her was something to be savored and enjoyed and crafted. As an adult I liked the coffee she made, but I never had a big cup, a small cup was plenty for me — and I definitely had it black, too. I like to taste it!
That’s why an espresso machine is perfect for my taste in coffee. It’s just a small amount at a time, and it’s nice & rich. It’s crafted. I like it.
About 6 years ago I got my first espresso machine. I paid $5 for it at a thrift shop. It was a little Krups machine that probably cost $99 new. I wasn’t fancy. It just had one button and one knob, and a steam wand for the milk. It was a perfect intro to espresso making. Through trial and error I learned how to make a good espresso and I enjoyed that machine for a few years.
Usually when I’m having a latte, I brew the espresso directly into the cup then pour the steamed milk on top.
This time, with my Krups machine, I steamed the milk first, poured it into my cup, and then brewed the espresso into the milk, just to see what it would be like. This is what appeared: an image of Mother and Child. I couldn’t have designed this myself if I’d tried!
Eventually the portafilter (where the grounds sit) started leaking, so I gave it to my son, who took it to our basement workshop where it will be taken apart (probably for the pump inside).
I spent some time (ok, a LOT of time) online, researching espresso machines. I wanted a new one that was simple to use, with not too many bells and whistles, that was affordable, and one that would be a step up from the Krups. I did find a great machine — the Italian-made Gaggia Classic.
It makes terrific espresso shots, and the steamed milk is pretty decent, although I think the newer models have improved the technology in that area. Anyway I don’t have lattes too often — I usually just enjoy just having a simple espresso shot in the morning.
I upped my game and got a fancy grinder Christmas 2019. That was fun! It’s niiiiiice.
I have some lovely accoutrements which bring me great pleasure while I have my coffee. This little café caddy belonged to my late mother and houses my collection of special cups and mugs and flavorings.
Some are thrifted, some were gifts, and some were Mama’s. I bought the two pretty glasses in Valencia, Spain and they cost about 50 cents each. The shop owner recalled to me how her father and his friends used to drink their coffee out of those exact kinds of glasses every day. I liked the idea of that! (Why didn’t I buy more than two??)
One of my favorite things in the caddy is this little coffee pot salt & pepper set I inherited. Mama bought it online about 15 years ago. She was very surprised when the set arrived, because she was expecting a full-sized double-burner coffee warmer! She didn’t know it was a miniature salt & pepper set. “I wondered why it was so cheap…” she mused! Mama had such a great sense of humor and she didn’t mind laughing at herself. She always kept the little Lockhorns cartoon with it, tucked underneath!
The very best part of my espresso experience is the coffee itself. No matter how awesome the equipment is, if you don’t have good coffee beans, it won’t taste good. It just won’t. I am very lucky because my brother Rob owns a coffee shop, Java Lords Coffee House & Bar, inLittle 5 Points, Atlanta, GA. He roasts the coffee beans himself — they are super fresh and Fair Trade, too.
My favorites are the beans from Yirgacheffe and Tanzania. There is a natural, subtle variation with every batch Rob roasts, but these particular beans tend to have a warm, sweet, fruity aroma! Rob always has a terrific house blend on hand, which he calls “Lord’s House”.
Other special roasts include Mourning Blend (that “u” changes the meaning, right) Dead Souls’, and Darkness Blend. He also roasts beans from Sumatra, Thailand, Mexico, Columbia, Peru, Brazil, Nicaragua, and other places as well. In my opinion, Java Lords sells the best coffee beans. When I can’t get over L5P to replenish, I do like to buy Allegra Coffee Beans from Whole Foods. They are pretty good and I enjoy those espressos, but when I get back to my Java Lords beans…it’s just soooo good!
I’m lucky to have come up with a great combination of elevated equipment, my pretty tableware, and the unparalleled coffee beans. It’s a nice start to my day and I just love it! Do you have a coffee ritual, or a machine you love? Do you have special mugs or other accoutrements that give you warm feelings? Leave me a comment! I’d love to hear…