This week of Awesome- February 24th

For me, this week has been about a lot of things. Eating and not eating. Living and not living. Happy and sad. And then happy. And then sad. I found moments of Awesome this week not in books or movies but in indulging in goodies, burning them off, and finding food for thought.

Recipe/Do-It-Yourself: Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Where did I find it? Under the Christmas tree this year from my sister-in-law Amanda. Finally decided to use it for the hubster’s twenty-sixth birthday party. The recipe came from the booklet included in the box and is the only vanilla ice cream recipe I’ve ever seen that requires lemon juice. I Googled it but couldn’t find any information about a vast scientific reason behind it. Maybe it makes the ice cream more tangy? Weird, but still delicious.

Awards: Thumbs up from the whole party!

You’ll probably like this if you geek out about: Oh come on, who doesn’t like ice cream? However, I wouldn’t recommend this recipe if you’re lactose intolerant, trying to look like a supermodel by the end of the week, or can’t take rich food.

Why its awesome: Thick, creamy, yummy. Um, duh- of course homemade ice cream is Awesome! And I love soft serve, so eating it right off the dipper without refreezing is perfect for me. Seriously though, the best part was probably the whole ice-cream making experience. I think I had done it once or twice before at my parent’s house when I was a little girl, but I barely remembered the process other than it had something to do with sprinkling salt over ice. When I asked Michael what he wanted at his party he said he didn’t want cake–he wanted ice cream instead. Great! A chance to try out the new ice cream maker.

Two stores and $20 later I had all the ingredients. (This is another case, folks, where if you’re trying to save money just buy the cheap gallon of Ye Olde Neapolitan from the story. As has been shown time and time again–sewing, candy making, beading–‘do it yourself’ does not always mean ‘do it for less’.) I’ve never had to buy four cartons of heavy whipping cream before and I never knew they actually sold boxes of ice cream salt at the grocery store. The hardest part about the whole process was lugging the dripping 20 pound bag of ice from the car and trying to wedge it in my apartment freezer.

Mix the indredients together, insert dasher, put bucket into bigger bucket, surround with layers of ice and salt, plug it in, and thirty minutes later you have beautiful soft serve vanilla deliciousness. As we sang Michael a happy birthday and dug in I couldn’t help thinking about the stories my grandpa used to tell about making ice cream on the farm in Texas over sixty years ago. Those were the days, he said, when you took the cream straight from the cow. The women would add fresh peaches and the boys would take turns cranking the giant five gallon ice cream freezer while the whole family gathered around. My grandpa remembers eating so much homemade ice cream he threw up the whole mile back home.

I still have about a half gallon of our ice in my freezer at home that Michael and I are carefully chipping away at. I can’t imagine what the ice cream must have tasted like in my grandpa’s day, but I’m enjoying every moment I have of old fashioned vanilla ice cream goodness.

App: My Fitness Pal

Where did I find it? Recommended by my friends Drew and Jill (yes, there’s more than one of us, we’re just that Awesome). Downloaded it through the iPad appstore, or go to their website.

Accolades: Featured in a number of newspapers, magazines, and TV programs. 249,960 people like it on Facebook (so it must be cool, right?)

You’ll probably like My Fitness Pal if you geek out about: Loosing weight, staying healthy, getting fit, gaining weight, obsessively keeping food diaries

Why It’s Awesome: At the risk of sounding like an infomercial… I’ve tried other weight loss options before (all the free ones, I’m a cheapskate) and so far this is the only one I’ve stuck with. I won’t lie and say that its helped me shed many pound yet, but from a health standpoint it Awesomely tracks your carbs, your proteins, your fats, most importantly for me, your sugar and salt intake. I’ve been struggling with migraines lately that this hand gadget has helped me track what I’m eating when I get a migraine and what food may help or hurt my migraine cycles.

I’m not generally a diet advocate and in the past I’ve loathed the idea of keeping a food diary, but somehow My Fitness Pal has actually been easy and, in some sick way I guess, fun. Now what would truly be Awesome is if I actually followed the instructions, stopped eating all that sugar, and actually dropped the ten pounds I’m trying to loose. But that will have to wait for another week, I guess.

Food for Thought

Poem: The Dash

Author: Linda Ellis

I know many of you may have heard of this poem before, and I’ll admit, it is pretty sappy, generally not my cup of tea, so I won’t say much about it. But I had to go to a funeral this week and this poem made me think about life and how short our existence  really is. So here’s my food for thought this week– think on it. (I also can’t look at tombstones the same way again.)

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears, 1964-1994
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth..
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own;
The cars..the house..the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile..
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy’s being read
With your life”s actions to rehash..
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?


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