Beating The Heat And The Budget Blues Simultaneously & Best Ever Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe!

With summer’s heat fully upon us, I’ve been looking for ways to beat the summer heat.  I’ve also been struggling with working on lowering our grocery bills.  Here are a couple of things I’m doing to kill two birds with one stone.

Iced Tea!  We are diet soda drinkers here (the adults, anyway).  The cost of canned drinks is quite high.  To satisfy that longing for a refreshing cold, caffeinated, sweet drink, I’ve been making sweet iced tea.  The cost is ridiculously little, compared to sodas, even after factoring in the Splenda I use to sweeten each batch.  I do use an electric iced tea maker, but making iced tea the old-fashioned way is almost as quick and easy.  I’ve been working on remembering to keep ahead of the game by emptying the ice from the ice maker as soon as the tray is full, and bagging it up so that we always have plenty.

Homemade Ice Cream!  Now, I have checked my prices.  Homemade ice cream comes in under the price of store bought ice cream in my area.  Not by a lot, mind you, but it is less expensive.  And the taste and quality far exceed store bought.  In price checking I compared store bought ice cream that was not on sale, against the ingredients for home made that were also not on sale.  I plan to watch the sale flyers for commonly used ice cream ingredients (unsweetened baking chocolate, half and half, etc.) and pick up extra when it is on sale.

I found a brand new, still sealed in the box, electric ice cream maker at a “free” garage sale at a church several years ago.  It’s languished in my garage, mostly unused, until this year.  My wonderful husband is SURE that hand cranked ice cream tastes better, and he has graciously agreed to crank the freezer himself on his days off.  However, on days that he works, I am free to use the electric freezer.

Prep time for most of my ice cream recipes is only about 10 – 15 minutes.  Some call for chilling in the fridge for up to two hours, but most just chill for a few minutes.  The freezer runs for less than an hour, turns off automatically when the ice cream is done, and I only need to check the level of the ice and add more every 10 minutes or so.  When the freezer is done the ice cream is soft set.   Since we like our ice cream firm, I just put the soft set ice cream into a plastic storage container and stash it in the freezer to enjoy later in the evening.  I can easily mix up a batch after lunch, freeze it, and pop it into the fridge in plenty of time for it to be firm for an after dinner treat.

I enjoy making more than one kind of ice cream.  I have recipes for vanilla, chocolate, vanilla chocolate chip, mint chip, and strawberry.  Some call for eggs, and some do not.  Variety is the spice of life!   Anna at Pleasant View Schoolhouse has some great, no egg ice cream recipes here and here.

However, our all-time favorite is the vanilla ice cream that Copper’s Mom made.  I can still remember the first time she made it when he and I were dating (31 years ago this summer!).  She always made it in a hand crank freezer.  Her tradition was for the newest family member to be the one that was allowed to have the dasher and lick all that wonderful, soft set ice cream off when the churning was done!  Yummmm!  I was so tickled to be given that privilege all those years ago.  I remember it vividly!

Here’s my mother-in-love’s FAMOUS homemade vanilla ice cream recipe.  She went home to be with the Lord about a year and a half ago, but our home is flooded with sweet memories of her.  Tonight, while eating a batch of this ice cream, we will, undoubtedly, remember all of those holidays and birthdays that we turned the crank of her freezer to make up a batch of this wonderful stuff!  (I’m typing the recipe from a card that is written in her handwriting.  This is precious to me!)

Lola’s Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

6 eggs, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, 1 can sweetenend condensed milk.

Combine ingredients and cook over low heat in a heavy pan until mixture thickens.  Cool slightly in refrigerator (about 10 minutes).

Stir in 2 quarts of half and half.  Pour into freezer can.  Freeze and enjoy!

 

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