Easy & Inexpensive Summer Activities For Kids, part 4

A few snapshots from my July, starting from above left: flip flops, a summer staple, top right: frozen pink punch, who wouldn't want that on a hot day? Bottom left: an epic failure I made for Independence day - there may be a post about it coming soon, and bottom right: taking in a ballgame  is always a highlight!

A few snapshots from my July, starting from above left: flip flops, a summer staple, top right: frozen pink punch, who wouldn’t want that on a hot day? Bottom left: an epic failure I made for Independence Day – there may be a post about it coming soon, and bottom right: taking in a ballgame is always a highlight!

Well, August is finally upon us, and around this time every year I begin to see hope for some relief from the hot weather not too far away. Although, I really can’t complain as this year has been one of the mildest summers I think I have ever experienced. Still…

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To continue with my series of easy and inexpensive activities for kids, lets make a popcorn cake, shall we?

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This is a cake I think just about any child (and adult!) would love; popcorn, gumdrops, peanuts, and melted marshmallows; it sounds like a creation fresh out of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

With minimal effort, you can have this cake ready to eat in no time – which is good, unless you happen to have/know a child with an unusual amount of patience!

Oh by the way, a big bonus is no use of the oven needed!

Enjoy!

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Notes:

~ Please do not make the mistake I did, and end up with a popcorn + kernel cake… I used the microwave kind of popcorn and wasn’t sure how I would sift out the kernels so they ended up in the cake! :/ Yeah, that’s me…no worries though, my nieces never ate the actual cake, just some of the leftover mixture which the kernels could be picked out of – but lesson learned: don’t use the microwave kind of popcorn! (and yes, I’m sure it was sheer stupidity to use it in the first place…)

 

Popcorn Cake

With a mixture of popcorn, gumdrops, and melted marshmallows, this is a sure pleaser!

Ingredients

4 quarts popped corn

1 pound small gumdrops

1/2 pound salted peanuts (totally optional, I left them out!)

1/2 C. (1 stick) butter

1/2 C. vegetable oil

1 pound marshmallows

Multi-colored sprinkles, optional

Directions

In a large bowl, combine popcorn, gumdrops and peanuts (you may have to use your hands).

In a large saucepan over medium high heat, melt butter, oil and marshmallows until marshmallows are thoroughly melted and mixture is smooth.

Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn/candy mixture. Stir (again, you may have to use your hands some) until combined.

Place in a generously (and I do mean GENEROUSLY) buttered tube/bundt pan.

Once the mixture has cooled, turn out onto a serving plate.

Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

Must be prepared the same day it is served.

Serves 12

A Super Easy (and very tasty) Ice cream Recipe

Well I’m glad I enjoyed the extra months of no miserable heat this year, because it sure is hot and miserable now…

IMG_0800 (1)Do you ever get really excited over certain recipes? I did on Tuesday when I made this ice cream that came from an old magazine dating back to 1984. Look at that picture, doesn’t it just look old? Come to find out my mom acquired this recipe after a friend brought the ice cream to a church potluck – apparently it was raved about for days afterwards. I had seen this before while browsing through our dessert recipe collection, but never thought much about making it. I guess I have not really been interested in making ice cream that wasn’t made in a machine (yes, I’m one of those people… but I’m learning to branch out and try more simple recipes). So when looking through the recipe collection recently, I decided to give it a try. It looked good enough and then what really clenched it for me was coming across this blog, and seeing what the blogger had to say about a very similar recipe.

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My mom was right, the blogger was right: this is so good! I am now very much in love with this ice cream and its simplicity – I can’t get over it! 5 ingredients (more or less depending on what combinations you try), that’s it! And seriously, this tastes about as good as anything that I have gotten out of the ice cream maker, and bonus! it’s so much EASIER. I have already been thinking about the different combination possibilities…

But don’t listen to me, go try it for yourself and I bet you will be just as in love as I am!

Also, if you like gelato, then you have an added incentive for trying it, as that is what my sister said this tasted like to her.

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The lowdown:
I made two different combinations, both with a chocolate base and Oreos, but two different flavors. Both were equally good. By the way, let me tell you that I am privileged to have five happy (and sometimes probably not so happy..) taste testers around, it can really come in handy! Anyway, to get back on subject, one combination was a double chocolate Oreo, and one a chocolate mint Oreo. The double chocolate consists of chocolate ice cream with double chocolate stuffed Oreos mixed in. The mint chocolate has chocolate ice cream with mint Oreos mixed in and a little mint extract for more even more mint flavor.
Also, if you would like some extra chocolatey goodness on top, let me then recommend some ganache. I used Alton Brown’s recipe.

Cottura felice!

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Easy Double Chocolate Oreo Ice cream
(makes about 1 1/2 quarts)

Ingredients
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely (or big chunks, however you like it) crushed chocolate creme filled Oreos (or any other brand of sandwich cookies
2 cups (1 pint) whipping cream, whipped (do not use whipped topping)

Directions
In a large bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Stir until well combined.

Fold in cookies and whipped cream.

Pour into a 2 quart container (a loaf pan would also work well). Cover and freeze for six hours or until firm.

If desired, serve with ganache (highly recommended) or hot fudge topping.

Chocolate Mint Oreo Ice Cream

Ingredients
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsp. (about 1/4 tsp. more if you like a very minty flavor) pure mint extract
1 C. coarsely crushed Mint Creme Filled Oreos (or any other brand of sandwich cookie)
2 C. (1 pint) whipping cream, whipped (do not use whipped topping)

Directions
In a large bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, mint extract and vanilla. Stir until well combined.

Fold in cookies and whipped cream.

Pour into a 2 quart container (a loaf pan would also work well). Cover and freeze for six hours or until firm.