Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream

Love Strawberry Shortcake? Love Ice Cream? Then my Fresh Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream recipe is for you. Strawberry shortcake is one of my all time favorite summer treats along with Ice Cream. Putting them both together just saves time! All you need is a blender and an Ice Cream Maker to be in dessert heaven.

A heaping bowl of Homemade Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream

Ingredients:

Yield: About 1 quart of ice cream.
Prep Time: 10 min

Total Time: 4 or more hours

Tip: Keep all ingredients as cold as possible to speed up the freezing process.

  • 14oz Sweetened Condensed Milk (you can make your own! find the recipe here)
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 Pint of Fresh Strawberries
  • 1 Small Jar of Your Favorite Strawberry Jam (I use my homemade jam)
  • 2 buttermilk biscuits crumbled
  • A container large enough to hold approximately 1 quart of ice cream (I use a loaf pan)

What To Do:

  1. Prepare your ice cream maker, and place the metal mixing tub in the freezer for at least one hour or overnight.
  2. In a blender combine the sweetened condensed milk and pint of fresh strawberries. Blend for about 20 seconds.
  3. Stir in 2 cups heavy cream then allow mixture to chill in the fridge for an hour.
  4. Pour the strawberry mixture into your ice cream makers mixing tub and assemble the unit. Add ice and salt according to the manufacturers instructions. It should take about 40 minutes for the ice cream to do its thing, during this time bake your biscuits (I make biscuits ahead of time and freeze them for occasions such as this) and crumble them up.
  5. When the ice cream maker stops spread 1/3rd of the ice cream into the bottom of your ice cream container. Sprinkle biscuit crumbs and dollop jam around it to your taste. Repeat the layers leaving a little jam and biscuit crumbs for the top.
  6. Now comes the hardest part: Place the ice cream into the freezer and let it chill at least 4 hours or overnight before digging in.

This ice cream is rich, with the perfect mixture of tart and sweet. It’s great after a hot summer day working outside. Strawberry season comes but once a year, ENJOY it!

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Is A Hit!

Five Tips For Simpler Holidays

It is the season of excess, but it doesn’t have to mean excess stress! Here are 5 things I have started doing to make my life (and the lives of those who live with me) easier around the holidays. Plus our recipe for crock pot hot chocolate, which is sure to become a holiday favorite with your family, too!

apple pie_1
Apple pie

1. Make pie dough ahead of time, when you actually have time to do it. I like to make four batches of pie dough, shape them into balls, wrap them in plastic wrap, and freeze them in a freezer bag until I need them. Just get them out to thaw in the fridge the night before you need to bake a pie. They are ready to be rolled, filled, and baked, and you don’t have to worry about cleaning up extra dishes.  Another thing you can do to eliminate pie pressure during the holidays is to can your own pie filling during the season; then all you have to do is dump it in and bake it according to your recipes directions.

pie filling dough
Pie filling and frozen pie dough

2. Homemade gifts. You, sir or ma’am, have worked your tail off this year preserving the finest fruit, vegetables, meats, and herbs from your homestead. Why not share the bounty? In the process, you will showcase all of your hard work. I personally love a homemade gift, especially if I can eat it. Think about it — not everyone gets to have homemade apple sauce, preserves, peaches, spaghetti sauce, or canned green beans just like Granny used to make. I also like to attach recipes to my jars; for instance, if I send someone a can of beef, I like to share my recipe for crock-pot vegetable beef soup. If I give a jar of apple pie filling, it’s nice to give them the recipe for crumble topping for an easy apple crisp. Maple syrup, honey, and even eggs make lovely gifts, too. Your life is already abundant — share it!

cookie dough_1
Frozen cookie dough

3. Make double batches of cookies. You’re already making a mess; why not go the extra mile? If you make cookies occasionally throughout the year, you may want to consider doubling the batch. I like to make double batches when I make any kind of drop cookie or cookie you roll into a ball. I bake one batch, and the second batch I scoop with a medium sized melon baller onto a lined baking sheet and pop into the freezer. Peanut butter or molasses cookies can be rolled into balls and rolled in sugar before placing on the sheet to be frozen. I then put the frozen cookie dough into freezer bags with the type of cookie, bake temp, and time written on it. If you have an unexpected party (or one you forgot), you can bake up a batch of homemade cookies quicker than quick, and you wont have any mess to contend with other than the cookie sheet! They also make great gifts around the holidays when people get lots of goodies. Frozen cookie dough allows folks to enjoy your treats well after the sugar surge of the holidays is over.

4. Chop peel and prepare … check! One thing I have found that eliminates stress at crunch time is to have all of the little things taken care of. The night before, I chop and peel my veggies. While that seems pretty straightforward, it is a time saver. As I go along, I check things off of the list I have created to make sure I don’t forget anything. I also like to measure all my spices and other dry ingredients for each dish and combine in small glass bowls. All I have to do is grab a bowl and dump it in as I go.

5. Simplify. Do we really need to have three meats? Six different kinds of pie? Maybe settle on brunch this year! And don’t let your guests slack off, either; have them bring one of their favorite dishes. Since we will be running around trying to hit every Christmas party like crazy people in the time leading up to Christmas, our plan for Christmas Day consists of waking up, watching our boys open their gifts, sipping some coffee, and enjoying a potluck brunch with our family (and maybe some mimosas!), all from the comfort of our cozy flannel jammies! This means that there will be a crock pot full of our most favorite winter time treat … crock pot hot chocolate!!

Here is the recipe. I hope your family enjoys it as much as we do.

Crock Pot Hot Chocolate

Cook time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

• 1-1/2 quarts whole milk (if you have your own it’s even better!)
• 12 oz. whipping cream
• 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk (see recipe below, or use canned)
• Vanilla to taste (I never ever measure vanilla)
• 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 1 cup milk chocolate chips
• Cinnamon to taste (optional)

Instructions:

1. Turn crock pot on low and combine whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk. Add vanilla and chocolate chips, stir in whole milk.

2. Place the lid on and let cook for 2 hours, stir with whisk occasionally, until all chocolate is melted.

3. Ladle into mugs and enjoy with a marshmallow or a shot of whipped cream! This stuff is dessert in and of itself!

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk:

Yield: 2 cups

• 1 cup whole milk
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 3 tablespoons butter, melted
• 1/3 cup boiling water
• pinch of salt

1. Mix all ingredients in a medium pan. Heat until sugar is dissolved. Stir constantly with whisk.

Jake with a mug

Chamomile Bee Tea

Chamomile blooms
Herbal ChamomileTea

The dandelions are out, and so are the honeybees! Spring is officially here in beekeeper land. But it can still get a little cold in southern Michigan; in fact, I prefer to play it safe and consider our last frost date for Zone 5 is May 21st, so we still aren’t out of the woods yet. It’s a great idea to make some sugar syrup to give to your bees this time of year as a nearby food source to help them take on these roller-coaster temperatures. It’s an even better idea to give your bees Bee Tea!

So, why Chamomile Bee Tea and not a regular 1:1 sugar syrup? Chamomile Herbal Tea is made up of the dried, flowering body of the chamomile plant. The cool thing about this is that there is some pollen still hanging out in these dried up little flowers, and bees need pollen to get all of their necessary vitamins and minerals. So this chamomile herbal tea paired with sugar is a great food option for our buzzy friends in these hard times of cold temperatures.

Please note: sugar syrup is an inferior food source for bees, and nothing man can cobble together will match nectar from real flowers. I do not like to rely heavily on sugar syrup, but I find that during seasonal shifts and for new or struggling colonies, this Bee Tea can give them a hand up.

I highly recommend using loose leaf tea for this application rather than tea bags (though they will work just fine if that’s what you have on hand). The chamomile will be more intact since it hasn’t gone through as much processing as the bagged sort, and it is almost always a higher quality tea.

What you will need:

• Tea kettle
• Mesh tea strainer
• Teapot or heat-safe brewing vessel
• Large jar (I use a half-gallon canning jar, but any size will do depending on the amount you are making)
• Granulated sugar
• Loose leaf chamomile tea or chamomile tea bags

For those that may be curious, 1:1 means that if I used 1 cup of water I will have to dissolve 1 cup of sugar to create this solution. In this recipe I will be making four cups of tea, so I must use four cups of sugar. This recipe can be made in any quantity, large or small, depending on your particular needs.

How To Do It:

Begin by measuring the required amount of water and add it to your tea kettle. Let it come to a boil. Then add the tea to your mesh strainer and place the strainer into your brewing vessel. (My teapot will make four cups of tea, which requires four tablespoons of loose leaf tea.) Pour the boiling water into the brewing vessel and allow the tea to steep for five minutes. While the tea is steeping, put four cups of sugar into your large jar. When the tea is done steeping and still very hot, pour it into the jar and stir to dissolve the sugar; you will know that the sugar is completely dissolved when the mixture no longer looks foggy but is golden and clear.

Pouring steeped tea
Adding Tea

Jar of chamomile tea
Stirring To Dissolve

Allow the Bee Tea to cool completely before adding it to your feeder and giving it to your bees. If you have extra, you can pop it into the fridge and refill your bee feeder as needed. Discard any excess Bee Tea after five days have passed.

Wondering what to use as a bee feeder?  You can pick up a small chick waterer from TSC, Rural King or any place else that sells poultry equipment for about $3.  Wash the feeder in warm soapy water and rinse well before adding the Bee Tea to it.  Before placing your new feeder in your apiary, locate a flat surface to place it ( I like to use a chunk of log from the wood pile) and collect a handful of smallish rocks.  Flip the feeder and place it on the log, then put the rocks in the trough, this will give the bees something to sit on or use to help them out if they happen to fall into the Bee Tea.  You may be wondering why I don’t place it directly inside the hive since many beekeepers feed inside the hive, and my reasoning is this;  Ants and Bees have a symbiotic relationship and no matter what we do there will usually be ants around our hives however I feel that putting sugar syrups directly inside the hive give ants a free pass and they can become a bigger nuisance to the bees than they normally would, and in my experience over time they can pull the hives health down because of the distraction they create. SO I feed exclusively outside the hive, a few feet away from it.

Have fun watching your girls enjoy their little Bee Tea Party!