Square Life Round World

I'm navigating through this round world while living a square life, and it fits exactly as it should.

Labor Day Stew

I am super behind on all the things I want to blog about.  I hope to get you all caught up this week on what I’ve been up to.  Last week was a holiday week (Happy Labor Day!) and I hope everyone enjoyed their short week/long weekend if you got one.  I certainly did, but that also means a busy week of playing catch up! 

I thought I’d share with you how I spent my Labor Day.  I’m not sure about the back story of this or if it’s even really a “thing” but where I grew up, Labor Day Stew was a tradition.  There was a church close to where I lived as a child (where my parents still live) that would sell stew every Labor Day as a fund-raiser.  The men of the church would get up early and start cooking in kettle pots over an open fire.  This was the best stuff ever!  You had to bring your own container to put it in, and my dad would get a big gallon jug of it.  I’m not sure when they stopped doing that, but for years we missed it and craved it.

Then, probably about 15 years ago, we went to Charleston, SC to visit my college friend, Amy, and her husband, Dan.  We went to Disney World right after that and passed through Brunswick, GA.  I picked up a recipe card there for Brunswick Stew.  My dad tried his hand at making it that fall, and it’s been a hit with my family ever since.  He has tweaked the recipe a bit through the years, though I won’t share his changes.  I’m not sure I even know all of the changes.

We picked this recipe up for Brunswick Stew about 15 years ago, and it's now a family fave!

We picked this recipe up for Brunswick Stew about 15 years ago, and it’s now a family fave!

About three or four years ago, my cousin resurrected the Labor Day Stew tradition at her house, using my uncle’s (her father) recipe. 

My cousin set up tables in her garage for the Labor Day Stew.

My cousin set up tables in her garage for the Labor Day Stew.

She and her husband once again cooked it up in a huge cast iron kettle pot over an open flame, a gas one. 

My cousin and her husband cook the stew in a huge cast iron pot over a gas flame.

My cousin and her husband cook the stew in a huge cast iron pot over a gas flame.

Enough stew to feed a small army!

They invited lots of family and friends over, and we had the stew, sandwiches, chips, cookies and brownies.  Often, it’s a little cool on Labor Day but this time it was almost too hot for the stew.  Regardless of the temperature, it’s never too hot for an old tradition. 

More food to go along with the stew

More food to go along with the stew

Do you have any family food traditions?

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Peach Blueberry Soy Milk Shake–It’s What’s for Breakfast!

I’ve either written about or given a quick mention to the farmers market a lot lately around here.  It occurred to me that lots of what I’ve written about has been the unhealthy (Black and Blueberry Ice Cream, Rock’n Dough pizza, etc.).  At the same time, one of my favorite things about summer is that the abundance of fresh produce helps me to eat much better and much more cleanly than I tend to in the winter.  So, I thought I’d share with you my very favorite summertime breakfast food, my Peach Soy Milk Shake.  It might sound icky to some, but it is oh, so delicious!

I created my first version of this recipe about 15 years ago.  I was on a diet (as I have been since I was roughly 12, yes, I’m one of them), and I was craving something sweet (shocker!).  I saw a recipe for a mango drink that called for mango, yogurt, milk and ice.  I’ve never really liked shake type drinks blended with ice (frozen adult beverages are totally ok, though) because the ice always tends to water them down.  I didn’t have yogurt, and I didn’t have mango.  I did have peaches because peaches have always been my favorite summer fruit and are almost always on hand in my house when in season.  The thought occurred to me that if I chopped up the peach, froze it, and blended it with skim milk, it might work.  So that’s what I did, and it worked.  I added a little vanilla flavoring, and the result was something that tasted just like homemade peach ice cream.  I think I had one of those every single day that summer. 

Then a few years later, I decided to try light vanilla soy milk in the shake.  I don’t remember why but there was a reason at the time.  I actually liked that version better.  It was sweeter, and the vanilla soy milk amped up the vanilla flavor and made the shake richer tasting.  Soy milk also lasts longer in the fridge so double score!

This year our peaches are much smaller for some reason so my first few shakes were not as thick and frozen as I like them.  In fact, soupy is the word that comes to mind.  I had some blueberries on hand one day and got the idea to add some in with the peaches.  The result was even more delicious!  So I think I have a new favorite going forward.  So, here is what I do.  The night before I’m going to make my shake, I peel and chop up a peach (take the seed out, of course), wash 1/2 cup of blueberries and freeze the peach and blueberries. 

Farm fresh peaches and blueberries frozen overnight

Farm fresh peaches and blueberries frozen overnight

The next morning, I drop the frozen fruit in a blender, add in 1 cup of light vanilla soy milk (I like Silk), 1 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring and blend it until all the fruit is completely blended and it’s frozen, smooth deliciousness. 

Light Vanilla Soy Milk-it's shockingly delicious!

Light Vanilla Soy Milk-it’s shockingly delicious!

Blend the ingredients until it’s a smooth, frozen concoction.

So here I have the complete recipe for you.

Peach Blueberry Soy Milk Shake

  • 1 fresh peach, chopped and frozen overnight
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries, frozen overnight
  • 1 cup light vanilla soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

Place the frozen peach and frozen blueberries in a blender and add the soy milk and vanilla flavoring.  Blend until all the fruit is combined and there are no more chunks left.  If it is too thick, add more soy milk until it is the desired consistency.  Pour into a cup, add a straw and enjoy.

The finished product--you can see that I like mine really thick.  Add more soy milk or water if you want it thinner.

The finished product–you can see that I like mine really thick. Add more soy milk or water if you want it thinner.

Here’s what it looks like without blueberries, just peaches. Still very delicious!

What’s your favorite healthy summertime recipe?

Follow me on Twitter @myglasssneaker.

Don’t forget to register for my virtual race, Magic Carpet Run 2013 to benefit St. Jude.  For details or to register, click here.

I’m a charity athlete raising money for St. Jude.  To donate, visit my personal fund-raising page here.


Homemade Black-and-Blue-Berry Ice Cream–A July 4 Treat

I hope everyone had a happy and safe July 4.  For my readers in other countries, I hope you had a good day as well!  I certainly did!

Earlier in the week, I promised to bring you my homemade blackberry ice cream made with farmers market blackberries and farm fresh eggs.  When I went to make it, I realized I needed 2 pints of blackberries and only had one.  I had a pint of blueberries, also from the farmers market, so I decided to make blackberry/blueberry ice cream instead.  I used a recipe I found on Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman blog, which can be found here as inspiration.  I made a few changes, though.  The first, most obvious change being that I used 1 pint each of blueberries and blackberries instead of 2 pints of blackberries. 

Blueberries and blackberries in the sauce pan

Blueberries and blackberries in the sauce pan

I also pureed the berry sauce using an emersion blender before straining.  I wanted to get as much of the berry juices out of them as I could.  I didn’t want to use a blender or food processor, though, because as powerful as those appliances are, I was afraid it would pulverize the blackberry seeds, making for a gritty ice cream.  Smooth was what I was going for, not gritty.  I also used an extra egg yolk than her recipe calls for.  Finally, instead of putting the whole cup of sugar in the half and half to heat, I put half of it in the egg yolks when I beat them.  I think the friction the sugar granules create help to get the eggs light and frothy sooner.  Oh, and one more thing, I added vanilla flavoring after the mixture was cooked.  Her recipe doesn’t call for vanilla flavoring.

I seriously had a hard time keeping my spoon out of this while it was churning.

After it’s done churning, I like to put my ice cream in a plastic container and freeze until it’s scoopable.

Whenever I make homemade ice cream, I also like to make little pizelle cups to eat it out of. 

Pizelle Cups, like waffle cups, only made with a pizelle iron instead of a waffle cone iron

Pizelle Cups, like waffle cups, only made with a pizelle iron instead of a waffle cone iron

I don’t have a waffle cone maker, but I have a pizzelle cookie iron.  Pizzelles are little flat Italian wafer cookies made using an iron with a pretty flower design on it.  They are delicate and crisp, and they are very similar in taste and texture to a waffle cone.  So, I used a basic waffle cone batter, and while each cookie was still hot, I shaped it into a cup using a small ramekin.  It was the perfect vessel for holding 2 small scoops of my yummy deliciousness. 

Pizelle Cups with Homemade Black-and-Blue-Berry Ice Cream

Pizelle Cups with Homemade Black-and-Blue-Berry Ice Cream

So, here are the recipes I used for both the ice cream and the cookie cups.  The ice cream recipe is the one I re-wrote with my adaptations, but if you want Ree’s original recipe, see the link above.  I have no idea where I got the waffle cone batter recipe.  I’ve used it for years, and I just have notes scratched on a piece of paper, so I’m sorry I cannot give original credit.  Hope you enjoy!

Homemade Black-and-Blue-Berry Ice Cream

  • 1 pint fresh blackberries
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  •  juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/4 cup of sugar, divided
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 t vanilla flavoring

Place the berries, the lemon juice and 1/4 cup of sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium low heat for about 25 minutes.  Puree using an emersion blender and strain through a fine mesh strainer, discarding the solids.  Set the berry liquid aside while preparing the custard mixture.

Place the egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Heat the half and half, heavy cream, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium low heat until the sugar is melted and the cream is heated.  Be careful not to boil.  Add a half cup of the cream mixture into the egg mixture and beat to temper.  Then add the tempered egg mixture to the rest of the cream mixture and continue cooking gently over medium low heat until the mixture is thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon.  Remove from heat and add the vanilla flavoring and the berry liquid to combine.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer, just to make sure the mixture is as smooth as possible.  Transfer to a plastic airtight container and place in the refrigerator to chill overnight.  Once chilled, freeze according to your ice cream maker’s manufacturer’s directions. 

Homemade Waffle Cone Batter

  • 3 T melted butter
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 t vanilla flavoring

Place the egg, egg whites, and sugar in a bowl and beat with a whisk until light and fluffy.  Whisk in the melted butter until combined and add the vanilla flavoring.  With a spoon, mix in the flour until combined.  The mixture will be very thick and pasty.  Cook the batter according to your waffle cone iron or pizelle iron’s manufacturer’s directions.  While hot, shape around the cone form or a cup, whichever you are making.  Be sure to work quickly because it will cool and harden quickly.

I cannot tell you how delicious this ice cream was.  I may go so far as to say it is the best ice cream I’ve ever made/eaten.  I see another batch in my future before berry season is over.  If you make it, please let me know what you think. 

What’s your favorite homemade ice cream?

Follow me on Twitter @myglasssneaker.

I am raising money as a charity athlete for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  To make a donation, please visit my fund-raising page here.

If you haven’t already, there is still time to register for my virtual run, the Magic Carpet Run, to benefit St. Jude.  For more details or to register, click here.

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My Guest Blog Post–Grilled Drunken Barbeque Shrimp

I had the privilege this week to be a guest blogger for one of my favorite blogs, Through Heather’s Looking Glass.  Heather Montgomery is an avid Disney fan and runner.  Her blog was formerly known as Running With Sass and was primarily running focused.  Earlier this year she changed it to Through Heather’s Looking Glass and broadened her focus.

I wrote about one of my best recipes, Grilled Drunken Barbeque Shrimp.  It’s one of my most requested dishes.  Here is what it looks like.

Grilled Drunken Barbeque Shrimp

Grilled Drunken Barbeque Shrimp

You can read the entire blog post here

I enjoyed the opportunity to guest blog for her, and because of that post, my blog set a record for the number of visits in one day by almost double. 

Have you ever been asked to write a guest blog?  Would you want to?

Oh, and please feel free to follow me on Twitter.  I’m @myglasssneaker.