Life in Lape Haven

Category - Recipes

Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Tried It Tuesday - Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream. A delicious, traditional-style homemade vanilla ice cream recipe that's perfect for summer (or anytime of the year!) One of our family's favorites.

There is just something about homemade ice cream, isn’t there?

I think the first time I remember tasting it was when I was a little girl, and we went to a picnic or some kind of special event at my maternal grandparents’ church. Outside near the old schoolhouse that’s next door to the church, someone was using a hand-cranked ice cream churn to make the most amazing vanilla ice cream I’ve ever had – to this day – in my life.

The fact that the cream and eggs came fresh from my grandparents’ farm probably had something to do with it. That, and the fact that my grandma has amazing recipes for just about everything! (Here’s her homemade lime pickles recipe.)

With that memory of ice cream perfection, I had high expectations when I decided to try my hand at making homemade ice cream myself a few years ago. My first step was to get my grandma’s vanilla ice cream recipe…and then sadly realize that there was no way I was going to be able to make it just like hers. Even reducing her 5-quart recipe down to fit our 1.5 quart ice cream maker, I couldn’t duplicate that recipe exactly because it uses raw eggs and had the advantage of super farm fresh ingredients that aren’t as easy to find nowadays, at least not in our budget. 🙂

So, I went searching and did a lot of testing and learning (I suggest watching the “Churn, Baby, Churn” episode of Good Eats. A lot of my ice cream making process comes from Alton Brown’s suggestions.)

I also tried recipes from Columbus’s own Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, which happens to be my favorite ice cream shop ever (the Wildberry Lavender and Darkest Chocolate flavors are spectacular)! Finding her recipes online was really exciting. Her method for making ice cream doesn’t involve eggs at all, so the steps are bit different, but they result in truly yummy ice cream. Of course, just like my grandma’s, even with a recipe given to you, it’s still difficult to duplicate the exact flavor of such great ice cream made with high-quality ingredients.

My ice cream quest, though, did finally bring me to creating my own simple, more traditional-style vanilla ice cream recipe that my husband has declared to be “some of the best vanilla ice cream” he’s “ever had.”

And I agree – it is pretty good.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream. A delicious, traditional-style homemade vanilla ice cream recipe that's perfect for summer (or anytime of the year!) One of our family's favorites.

I do have to say, too, that having a good ice cream maker has been helpful and has encouraged me to make ice cream more often, including coming up with a copycat recipe for an Ohio summertime classic, Kings Island’s Blue Ice Cream.

When I first started making ice cream, I had a cheaper plastic ice cream maker that I’d bought on clearance for maybe $15. It was the older kind where you add ice cubes and rock salt, and it was pretty noisy and a little messy. Then not long after that, my hubby found a great deal on a Cuisinart 1.5 quart ice cream maker on SlickDeals.net that has the bowl that you freeze and then churn the ice cream in it. (My bowl is always in the freezer, so it’s ready to go when I need it.)

I can’t guarantee that SlickDeals would have it again, but here is an Amazon affliliate link (which means if you use the link to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you) to the ice cream maker that I use.

I’ve found that reducing the recipe to be a little less than the 1.5 quarts (or whatever the size of your ice cream maker is) is better. It might make less, but it churns better, which means better texture, when it has a little more room.

Also, this vanilla ice cream recipe does include eggs and tempering them and cooking your base a bit, but don’t let that intimidate you. It’s not complicated. If I can whip this up while my boys are running around me in the kitchen like a couple of crazy monkeys, trust me – You can do this, and you’ll be glad you did.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream. A delicious, traditional-style homemade vanilla ice cream recipe that's perfect for summer (or anytime of the year!) One of our family's favorites.

Because, really, there is just something about homemade ice cream, isn’t there?

Here’s my recipe for delicious Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream.
TRY THESE OTHER YUMMY RECIPES WITH YOUR VANILLA ICE CREAM:

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

The Legacy in an Apple Pie Recipe

Salted Caramel Cream

Chocolate Cake with Bavarian Cream Filling

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies


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Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Blackberry Muffins

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Blackberry Muffins. Delicious, quick, and easy homemade muffin recipe using fresh blackberries and a secret ingredient to give you tender, fluffy muffins.

One of the many things I love about summer and this time of year is that you can get all kinds of fresh fruit and veggie. I especially look forward to all the berries – blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.

There are so many yummy ways to enjoy fresh berries, but the down side is, if you don’t eat them or make something with them, they will go bad quickly. (Booo.) Sadly, this week I had to throw out some once-upon-a-time beautiful strawberries that I had only had for a couple days. It was so disappointing. Looking around at the containers of blackberries and blueberries nearby, I was determined to make good use of those other berries that I had purchased at the same time as the strawberries before they, too, got mushy, moldy, and yucky.

The blackberries were my first concern because they tend to have a shorter shelf life than blueberries. Plus, I already have a great recipe for blueberry hand pies.

So, the hunt was on for a new blackberry recipe that would use up my 12 ounces of tasty blackberries and one that wouldn’t be too involved. (It’s VBS week here, so our days are busy.)

Thankfully, I found one quickly, and before long the boys were anxiously awaiting their first taste of homemade blackberry muffins.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Blackberry Muffins. Delicious, quick, and easy homemade muffin recipe using fresh blackberries and a secret ingredient to give you tender, fluffy muffins.

This recipe was very easy to put together – mix your dry ingredients, mix your wet ingredients, combine them all together, add your berries, fill your tins, bake, EAT. Plus, muffins are perfect anytime of the day – breakfast, snack, dessert, or anytime this expectant mommy is hungry…again. 🙂

According to Simply Recipes, where I got this blackberry muffin recipe, the secret to these muffins being tender and fluffy is the sour cream. However, for my version, I used plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream because it’s what we had, and it worked out wonderfully. I also used a bit more cinnamon.

I found that my muffins could have actually come out of the oven EARLIER than 17 minutes, which was the shortest cook time given. I would say maybe 15 minutes would have been perfect. Since my muffins overcooked just a smidge, they were a little drier than I had hoped once they cooled. But they are still yummy. Oh, and just a reminder:  expect some seeds since you’re baking with blackberries. 🙂

Overall, these are definitely some muffins I’ll be baking again. I may even try them with blueberries instead of blackberries, maybe in the next few days since I have some blueberries that I don’t want to go bad.

Here’s how I made Homemade Blackberry Muffins.

Yummy Cherry Cream Cheese Bars

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: Yummy Cherry Cream Cheese Bars, These tasty little treats layer dough with a homemade cherry pie filling, cream cheese, and a sweet glaze. Great way to use fresh cherries!

Have you every picked fresh cherries? Have you ever picked fresh cherries with your children? Those are two very different events, aren’t they? 🙂

Even if it’s a little crazier, it’s definitely a lot more fun when the kids get to take part!

Since Elijah was about two or three, one of our summer traditions has been to help my parents harvest the cherries from their row of cherry trees. We’ve spent a day or two each June picking cherries, and the boys love that they can reach some of the cherries and help Grandma and Grandpa.

They have a wonderful time getting their hands sticky as they fill their buckets and wander from tree to tree, picking a few cherries from each one. Each boy tries to get more cherries than his brother, although Josiah tends to get tired of picking cherries sooner than Elijah is.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: Yummy Cherry Cream Cheese Bars, These tasty little treats layer dough with a homemade cherry pie filling, cream cheese, and a sweet glaze. Great way to use fresh cherries!

After we take our buckets inside, I get to spend some time that night or the next day separating and pitting whatever my boys and I have collected. Talk about getting tired…

Last year’s picking was especially memorable because it was a very bountiful year, plus on one of the days we went over, we were there the same time as two of Elijah and Josiah’s cousins, so the four boys helped to gather quite a few cherries (when they weren’t chasing each other around the trees)! We ended up with so many cherries that I think I might still have some in the freezer!


This year’s harvest was definitely less impressive, but our family still managed to come away with enough cherries to make something yummy. My sweet mom even pitted them for us (me) before we left their house.

My first step when I have fresh cherries is either to go ahead and freeze them or to make homemade cherry pie filling. I have found a really tasty recipe for cherry pie filling over at Crumbs and Chaos.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: Yummy Cherry Cream Cheese Bars, These tasty little treats layer dough with a homemade cherry pie filling, cream cheese, and a sweet glaze. Great way to use fresh cherries!

Since I’m not a huge cherry pie fan, I wanted to find a new recipe to use our cherries in. My parents’ cherry trees produce sour cherries, so I knew it had to be something with enough sweetness to balance the tartness.

I thought about making hand pies with the cherry filling, but then I remembered a cherry pie bar I made last year with some of our bounty. However, this year I couldn’t find the recipe that I used. Instead, I came across another one that I had saved a while ago, one that adds a cream cheese layer to the bars.

Cream cheese? Why, yes. I think we will try that! 🙂

I don’t think I’ll even need to worry about that other cherry pie bar recipe.

These Cherry Cream Cheese Bars by Inspired by Charm are delicious. The cream cheese and the almond extract really set these cherry bars apart. While they are a little involved, with all the layering you have to do, they are worth it!

They were great while they were still slightly warm (though kind of messy to cut), and they were really yummy once they were cooled completely, but they are perfect when topped with some vanilla ice cream. I took them to our family reunion over the weekend, and everyone else loved them as much as we did.

I’m pretty certain you will, too.

Here’s how I made these Yummy Cherry Cream Cheese Bars.

 

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YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Sweet Vinegar Slaw

Chocolate Cake with “Simple” Bavarian Cream Filling & Chocolate Ganache

Making Grandma’s Lime Pickles

 

The Best Vanilla Buttercream Frosting I’ve Ever Made

Tried It Tuesday: The Best Vanilla Buttercream Frosting I've Ever Made. Easily the most delicious buttercream icing recipe I've made. Simple, quick, tasty, and not too sweet. Perfect for cakes and cupcakes.

This year for his birthday, Elijah wanted to have his party at our local state park because he wanted to go fishing as part of his day.

With Elijah’s birthday party being outside at the park, our party food had to be easy and portable, especially knowing that all the kids would be distracted by the nearby playground and fishing dock. Plus the party was in the mid-afternoon, so lots of food just wasn’t necessary. As a result, we went with really simple fare with a bit of a fishing and water theme: cupcakes (decorated with blue shark gummies in “water” frosting), whale crackers, and watermelon.

Tried It Tuesday: The Best Vanilla Buttercream Frosting I've Ever Made. Easily the most delicious buttercream icing recipe I've made. Simple, quick, tasty, and not too sweet. Perfect for cakes and cupcakes.

We allowed for lots of time for Elijah, Josiah, and their cousins to play on the playground and fish from the dock, so this was one of the easiest parties I’ve ever planned and one of the most relaxing (minus keeping little boys from casting into each other accidentally while they fished…)

Doing cupcakes instead of a large cake was a given, but frosting is a tricky thing with hot temperatures. I was hesitant to use a buttercream, but after a different frosting recipe totally flopped for me (I plan to try it again sometime, though, so stay tuned), I decided we could make a buttercream icing work.

For one, we kept the cupcakes in the refrigerator until the last possible minute before we left. Once we were at the park and had served everyone, we kept the leftovers in the cooler. They did really well. Plus, I think the sprinkled sugar I put on top (to add a little color and mimic water) helped keep the frosting from getting too sticky on top. 🙂

I researched some recipes before I made the frosting because I wanted for-sure proportions for the icing rather than just tossing some butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and a splash of milk into my mixer like I usually do.

Tried It Tuesday: The Best Vanilla Buttercream Frosting I've Ever Made. Easily the most delicious buttercream icing recipe I've made. Simple, quick, tasty, and not too sweet. Perfect for cakes and cupcakes.

I’m so glad I did.

The recipe I chose was titled, “The Best Vanilla Buttercream,” and I have to agree with them on that. It IS the best vanilla buttercream I’ve ever used.

I made a double batch since I had 48 cupcakes to cover, but I probably would have had enough from a single batch since I’m apparently not a heavy froster. However, there really is nothing wrong with having extra buttercream left over. It should freeze well enough, and I know we won’t let it go to waste.

While I tend to tweak every recipe I try, this one I followed pretty much exactly. I did, however, use a little heavy cream as part of the milk, just because it seems to make icing a little bit fluffier and yummier.

So, here you go: The Best Vanilla Buttercream Frosting I’ve Ever Made

Tried It Tuesday: Sweet Vinegar Slaw

Sweet Vinegar Slaw - Life in Lape Haven. A yummy recipe for a vinegar-based slaw that is always a summer hit. Great side dish for barbecue and easy to make.

When Brad and I were first married, our church had a picnic once a month in the summertime, which meant that as a newlywed who was still building her recipe repertoire, at first, I didn’t have a lot of ideas for what to take each time. After all, there’s a bit of a difference between cooking for two and cooking for a crowd.

After a couple of summers of taking things like fresh fruit salads, cookies, or random recipes, I was inspired by a side dish at a new local barbecue place, a side dish that I loved and knew I could recreate or at least get pretty close to: Sweet Vinegar Slaw.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: Sweet Vinegar Slaw. A yummy recipe for a vinegar-based slaw that is always a summer hit. Great side dish for barbecue and easy to make.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of traditional coleslaw. I mean, it’s okay with your bucket of fried chicken and all, but I could take it or leave it.

However, when I first tasted this vinegar-based slaw at the barbecue restaurant, I was hooked. It wasn’t like the creamy, mayonnaise-y taste of regular coleslaw, but rather a sweet, sour, tangy, crunchy yumminess that is especially awesome with barbecue ANYTHING.  

So, I went home, hit up Google, and found several recipes that seemed to mimic the slaw I’d had.

I honestly don’t remember where I came across the recipe that I finally made (and I tried looking it up), but it’s been written in my little recipe journal for several years. It’s a definite go-to recipe, especially in the summer.


From the first time I made it to every time since, this slaw has been a hit. It’s great for potlucks, picnics, and family gatherings, and unlike creamy coleslaws, you don’t have to worry too much about this in the summer heat. The vinegar and sugar won’t spoil as easily as mayonnaise. Plus, this recipe goes a long way.

While it’s a good side for just about anything, we LOVE this on barbecue pulled pork sandwiches. It’s a tasty little culinary match made in heaven. 🙂

So, to get your summer started off right, here’s how I make Sweet Vinegar Slaw. Enjoy!

 

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YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:

Homemade Stove Top Macaroni & Cheese

Kings Island Blue Ice Cream

Blueberry Hand Pies

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tried It Tuesday: Oven Roasted Chicken

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: Oven Roasted Chicken. Delicious, juicy chicken is easy to make when you roast it in the oven. Seasoned simply with rosemary , thyme, salt, & pepper, cooking the chicken at a high temperature creates a crispy skin and juicy, flavorful chicken. Yum!

I like to cook for my family, but I also like to cook enough so that I don’t HAVE to cook every single day. I like having leftovers that I can heat up in just a few minutes, and boom – dinner! When my boys were even smaller, I could pretty much make any dish go for at least two meals, but now, not so much. (I KNOW – they are only 3 & 5…I don’t even want to think about when they are teenagers.)

In the winter time, I have it fairly easy because I can make soups and chili that last us at least two or three days. I can divide them up, too, and freeze them so we aren’t literally eating them for three days in a row.

Warmer months are a little trickier, but I have found one thing that is versatile enough that I can stretch it out for several meals in either summer or winter: a whole chicken.

Whether we eat it just as it was cooked, or I debone it and use the meat to make chicken pot pie, barbecue chicken sandwiches, chicken tacos, or any number of chicken dishes, it feeds us well for a few days.

I used to cook it on the stove top, like my mom always did, bringing it to a boil and then cooking it low and slow all morning, and I still do it like this when I want a bit more stock for my dish, such as chicken and dumplings or chicken and noodles.

However, my favorite way to cook a chicken now is to oven roast it because it produces a more flavorful, moist meat, and the best method/recipe that I’ve found was one that I came across last year sometime, where they cooked it at 450 degrees – THE WHOLE TIME. (Most oven-roasted chicken directions say to heat your oven to 350).

I know you could easily pick up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store deli, but honestly, it’s sooo easy to roast your own, with your own seasonings, that I would only buy one in a pinch.

Lisa at My Own Sweet Thyme has a yummy sounding recipe for Herb Roasted Chicken, which is where I got my cooking directions. I haven’t actually tried her recipe as a whole, though.

My recipe is less precise, with some salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, and olive oil being dashed over the chicken in a roasting pan and cooked about an hour, uncovered, at 450 (until the thickest part of the chicken is at least 165 degrees.)

Even though I don’t always have the exact same measurements on my ingredients, it always comes out delicious with crispy skin and juicy, flavorful chicken.

Here’s how I make my oven-roasted chicken: