Friday, July 23, 2010

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

July 23 is National Vanilla Ice Cream Day! 

To celebrate National Vanilla Ice Cream Day, here is a scrumptious Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe that tastes divine! All you need area few simple ingredients and an ice cream maker. 


These days, old fashioned hand cranked ice cream buckets have been updated to a more refined selection of ice cream makers. No more working those muscles with a hand-crank, now you simply push a button to get your cold tasty treat!



Ice cream makers can get pretty pricey (up into the hundreds of dollars), but in keeping up with our simple, fun and elegant style, we've selected one of the best reviewed ice cream makers by Cuisinart, that can be yours for around $50. 



If you're feeling creative, try adding your favorite toppings in as you make your homemade vanilla ice cream! Healthy ice cream toppings include fruits like strawberries, blackberries, bananas, blueberries and raspberries. Peanuts, walnuts, pecans and almonds are healthy nut toppings to sprinkle on top!



For the rest of us who enjoy indulging that sweet tooth with sugary deliciousness, try adding crumbled up Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey Kisses, Oreos, sprinkles and M&M's to satisfy your choco-nut taste buds! Of course, caramel and chocolate sauce are perfect last minute toppings as well, although I must admit that hot fudge is my #1 topping choice for my vanilla ice cream!


Whatever your preferred toppings may be for an ice cold creamy treat, make sure you're ready with a fully insulated and stylish Ice Cream Tote to keep it cold wherever you go! Try taking it along on your romantic evening picnic for two, and have some fun by starting out with dessert! This way you won't fill up and can feast on the rest of the yummy treats waiting inside your picnic tote, after having dessert first!

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 2 large pasteurized eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract



-Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until they are light and fluffy, approximately 1-2 minutes.

-Whisk in sugar, just a little at a time, until all the sugar is added, and then whisk for about 1 minute longer.

-Add the cream, milk and vanilla and STIR to blend.  DO NOT WHISK at this time, as that will create bubbles and the resulting ice cream will not be as rich and dense.

-Transfer mixture to ice cream maker.  Follow your ice cream maker’s instructions.

-Freeze for at least 3-4 hours prior to serving.

Enjoy your fresh homemade vanilla ice cream and remember to share your delicious homemade treats with neighbors, friends, and family this summer!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mighty Mega Mats!

What is a crucial necessity for having a fun picnic?

A picnic blanket!

Having guaranteed seating with a comfortable place to sit as you set up your picnic basket and spread out your delicious goodies - that's what seals the deal for a fun and memorable picnic!

Do you have a comfy waterproof picnic blanket that folds up nice and snug to fit into any space - ready for any occasion?

Our mighty mega mats are compact, lightweight, stylish and come in a variety of colors and designs. With waterproof backing and comfortable padding, mega mat picnic blankets provide an excellent source for picnic seating, ground cover, a cover for outdoor picnic tables, and are great gift options because of the endless possibilities the mega mat can be used for.

As Floridians, we know the best beach essential to have is - a mega mat waterproof picnic blanket. We use our mega mats at the beach all the time. Not so much to lay in the sun on though they have been used for that purpose, but we use them as a "floor" under our pop up shade. Then we use it like a big door mat by laying it out by the car. Everyone cleans their feet, the last person gives it a few shakes, folds it up and it's back in the trunk.

They are great for picnics and you can save your picnic tablecloth from getting grass-stained or dirty!

Mega Mats really come in handy for all kinds of outdoor activities and we highly recommend a picnic blanket in the trunk of every vehicle you own!  Mega Mats make wonderful gifts for co-workers, spouses, relatives and are well received at baby showers! The large size is perfect for Mom & baby and adds a clean, padded layer between the baby and the floor.

Mega Mats easily fold up small and are safely secured with a wide velcro closure. Even if you don't fold it up perfectly there the velcro closure is large enough to get the job done.

There is a carrying handle on top and a long, wide & padded shoulder strap which doubles nicely to strap the blanket to a picnic blanket, or attach to another picnic cooler, romantic wine and cheese set, picnic backpack or coffee service picnic pack.

With a Lifetime Warranty, our mega mat blankets have durable padded, waterproof backing, and come in a variety of colorful designs.

The Extra Large Mega Mat Picnic Blanket opens to and impresive 68" x 82" and seats 4-6 people in padded comfort while the Large Mega Mat Picnic Blanket 48" x 60" and seats 2-3 people.
We stand by our durable mega mats and hope you enjoy having a dependable, convenient and waterproof picnic blanket for all your outdoor adventures!

Our Picnicker Newsletter is FREE to sign up for and offers exclusive sales and discounts to its readers. July's Picnicker Newsletter offers HUGE savings on the ever-popular Mega Mats. Sign up for our newsletter today and SAVE money with future Picnicker Newsletter Discounts.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Crispy 'n Buttery Blackberry Cobbler Recipe

July is National Blackberry Month, and wouldn't you know it I had fresh wild blackberries brought to my doorstep from my lovely landlords. They enjoy growing their own vegetables and fruits, and have a patch of blackberry bushes that provide them with beautifully ripe and sweet blackberries!

The last time I enjoyed fresh blackberry cobbler, my family was living in Olympia, Washington. As a kid, we'd all go get tangled up and dyed purple amongst the blackberry bushes, shoving our mouths full of delicious berries before giving any up for the empty baskets. My mom made a crispy, sweet and buttery blackberry cobbler from whatever berries made it home.

With blackberry season in full swing, blackberry cobbler makes the perfect summer dessert! After hounding Mom for tips and searching for an quick and tasty recipe online, I stumbled across the "Great Cobbler Debate Blackberry Cobbler Recipe", from

I found the simple, quick, and mouthwatering Blackberry Cobbler recipe I was looking for - and now, you have it!

Crispy 'n Buttery Blackberry Cobbler Recipe
Serves: 8 people
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Difficulty: Easy

  • 1 stick Butter (or 1/2 cup melted butter)
  • 1-¼ cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Self-Rising Flour
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 2-3 cups Blackberries (frozen Or Fresh)
Cobbler Directions
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in a microwavable dish, then get started on making the batter.

Pour 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of flour into a mixing bowl, then whisk in 1 cup of milk.

Mix well.

Then, pour in melted butter and whisk it all well together.

Butter a baking dish, or spray it with cooking butter spray.

Now rinse and pat dry the blackberries.

Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish and get ready for the berries!

Sprinkle (or drop) 2-3 cups of blackberries evenly over the top of the batter.

Beautifully covered in fresh blackberries, you're ready for some sugar.

Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar over the top.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until the top is golden and bubbly.

If you desire, sprinkle an additional teaspoon of sugar over the cobbler 10 minutes before it’s done; however, mine was glistening with sweetness, so I didn't need it.

Blackberries were laden throughout, on the bottom, in the middle and a few on top.

The crust and top layer were so crispy and buttery, and with the added sweetness of the's a little piece of Heaven!

Enjoy this quick and delicious Crispy 'n Buttery Blackberry Cobbler Recipe all summer long! Don't forget the whipped cream, or better yet - the vanilla ice cream scooped on top! Mmm!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Festive 4th of July in Kentucky!

Beautiful Kentucky
Grabbing a picnic cooler and tossing our portable sports chairs in the back of the pickup truck, we headed towards my boyfriend's Uncle's home to celebrate the 4th of July weekend. Driving past Kentucky's beautiful Rough River Dam State Park, we enviously checked out all of the people out on their boats and on the shore enjoying the cool water and sunshine. Before long we pulled off the main road and drove over the crest of a hill to see two groups of men playing putt-putt golf along the drive up to a gorgeous two-story home. After parking next to a garden of corn and other home-grown vegetables, we headed towards the group of women sitting in the shade and playing Cornhole (bean bag toss).

All-American Outdoor Games

With a lot of people spending time together and enjoying the long weekend, entertainment is a must! The 4th of July is all about All-American Outdoor Games and Activities that keep everyone occupied and having fun throughout the festivities. Our 4th of July family outing included 3 sets of Cornhole and our own 7 hole mini putt-putt golf course, or "cow-pasture golf" as I later found out, to play throughout the afternoon. Split into teams by drawing and pairing numbers, nearly 30 people were entertained as we all played to win first place. Nearly 20 different varieties of portable chairs, two bench swings, and several picnic tables were set out in a large circle for both the players and non-players.

Slipping away in between games to indulge in fresh green beans, fried tenderloin, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese and other home-made dishes, we ate our fill and then ate some more! Desserts like cherry cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream made losing a round of games well worth it, just so you could sit in the shade and eat while laughing and chatting with everyone else around. When you're repeatedly partnered with people you don't know, you start to relax and establish bonds a lot easier while you're playing some fun Outdoor Games. It also helps if you end up winning; but, not being overly competitive and just having fun and getting to know people is what it's all about.

Playing Rook and Riding 4 Wheelers
The sun didn't set until after 9pm, so the fireworks were put on hold until nearly two dozen people had gotten their fix of playing Rook. I'd never heard of the card game until a few months ago. My boyfriend's entire extended family are all pros because they play every week. Rook is a great game for friends and families of 4 or more to play because it is a multi-player partner game. With four tables set up and three rounds until the final winner's bracket, the games lasted about 2 hours until my boyfriend's awesome 86-year old Grandmother and one of his uncles beat everyone else and took 1st place!

After getting knocked out of Rook, we took an evening ride on a 4 wheeler through the trails in the woods and tried getting some air off a little hill in the field. Holding on tight and squealing like a little girl as we got a few inches off the ground has never been more exhilarating! It was even more fun to watch a 3 year old and his 9 year old sister take off on the 4 wheeler, laughing and hollering while their Grandmother safely sped them through the field flickering with lightning bugs.

Ablaze with Bonfires and Explosives
Dusk finally came upon us, and after building up a bonfire for hotdogs and s'mores and giving out plastic jars for the kids to go collect the glowing lightning bugs, we all set up our portable chairs along the edge of the field to watch a few brave men set off a gorgeous fireworks display. I should have handed out copies of 4th of July Checklist and Safety Tips, because the first explosive was too close for comfort as it exploded just above the ground. After moving back the wooden boards and firework holders further down the field, the inspiring fireworks dazzled us - exploding brilliant colors and intricate designs right before our eyes! It would have been a great idea to leave everyone a copy of  4th of July Myths, Fun Facts & Traditions so they could learn something they probably didn't know about our Independence Day, and shared it with others at future 4th of July celebrations!