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Monthly Archives: June 2016

Before the Mellowing Year, Serial #13 and S’mores Ice Cream

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Must be summertime if the word “s’mores” comes up in the conversation.

Actually, we’re still a few days short of the summer solstice (though you wouldn’t know that from the many areas in the Northern Hemisphere already experiencing extreme heat). But most schools are out, vacations have started, pools are open and beaches filling up. Even if it’s not summer on the calendar, it’s summer in our activities and in our hearts.

And also here at Reading and Recipes! This week we’re kicking off the season with a recipe that has a double-shot of summer–S’mores Ice Cream!

This combination of the signature flavor of summer (remember those marshmallows burnt over the campfire then pushed off the stick onto a milk chocolate square and sandwiched between two graham crackers? those were the days!) and the signature dessert of summer (what’s summer without ice cream?) is easy to prepare and doesn’t require a churn (that signature pain of summer).  Just mix together, freeze, then enjoy–at the beach, at the pool, on the deck, or around the kitchen table.

Wherever and whenever you eat this S’mores Ice Cream, it will be summertime.

Speaking of summertime vacations, Reading and Recipes will be taking a summertime vacation of its own. Over the next several weeks, we will not be making additional posts. But be sure to check back later in the summer for new posts; or, better yet, use the “follow” button to sign up to get alerts of future posts.

In the meantime, feel free to browse through our 168 recipes (all yummy, we promise) and our numerous serialized stories and novels, using the index links at the top of the page.

Have a safe and enjoyable summer. See you again soon!!!!

smores no churn ice cream

S’mores Ice Cream

2 cups whipped cream or whipped topping*

7-ounces (1/2 of a can) sweetened condensed milk**

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

7-ounce jar marshmallow fluff

8 honey graham cracker sheets, finely chopped***

3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, combine the whipped cream, condensed milk, vanilla, and salt. Beat ingredients until well combined. Fold the marshmallow fluff into the mixture, until thoroughly mixed throughout the ice cream. Fold in the graham crackers and chocolate chips.

Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container with a lid. Freeze the mixture for 4-6 hours, stirring every couple of hours, or until the ice cream reaches the consistency of frozen yogurt. Note: this ice cream will never fully freeze. Store leftovers in freezer for up to 2 weeks.

Makes 8 half-cup servings.

*If you prefer to use freshly whipped cream, you will need to beat 1 cup whipping cream until stiff peaks form. If you are using whipped topping, make sure the whipped topping is softened and has come to room temperature.

**You can use the other half of the sweetened condensed milk to make caramel sauce or peanut butter ice cream.

***This is equal to 16 graham cracker squares, or 32 small graham cracker rectangles. You can also use 1 1/2 cups of Honey Teddy Grahams, finely chopped.

smores ice cream

{Adapted from My Baking Addiction}

Before the Mellowing Year, Serial #13, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Before the Mellowing Year, Serial #13, text © Jeffrey Anderson


Before the Mellowing Year, Serial #12 and Strawberry Mug Cake

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These mug cakes are the stuff!

Why didn’t they think of that when I was a kid? Would have had a different one every day! But then, they didn’t have microwave ovens back then. Did they have mugs? I don’t know–can’t remember.

But they’ve got microwaves and mugs now, that’s for sure. And these mug cakes are the stuff–quick, easy, minimal clean-up, near infinite variety.

This week we are featuring a Strawberry Mug Cake. There are still some local fresh strawberries, depending on where you live. But one of the great recent inventions (to go along with microwaves and mugs) are year-round fresh strawberries readily available in any grocery store. So while this Strawberry Mug Cake may seem like the ideal late-spring afternoon or evening treat, it’s ready and waiting any time of the year. Just pick up some fresh strawberries and give it a try.

Now let me go call my brother and ask if he remembers if we had mugs when we were kids.

berry mug cake

Strawberry Mug Cake

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

2 heaping Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 egg

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

2-3 large strawberries, hulled and finely diced

In a small bowl, stir together the butter and sugar until ingredients are well mixed. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat all of the ingredients together. Slowly stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt, until just mixed into the batter. Fold in the diced strawberries.

Spray a 12-ounce mug with cooking spray.* Spoon the batter into the prepared mug. Microwave the cake on high for 60 seconds. Check the cake for done-ness. Continue to microwave the cake on high in 15 second increments, until the cake is done and no longer raw in the center. (It took my cake about 75 seconds.)

Remove the cake from the microwave and allow to cool slightly. Enjoy warm, straight out of the mug. For an extra decadent treat, drizzle the cake with chocolate syrup, vanilla glaze, or add a scoop of ice cream on top.

Makes 1 mug cake.

*Use a 12-ounce mug or larger for this cake. The cake doubles in size when it bakes, so don’t make the mistake of using a smaller mug and having a mess to clean up!

berry microwave mug cake

{Adapted from Averie Cooks}

Before the Mellowing Year, Serial #12, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Before the Mellowing Year, Serial #12, text © Jeffrey Anderson


Before the Mellowing Year, Serial #11 and Banana Berry Smoothie

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Okay, call us patriotic–and (sometimes) healthy!

Last week, a few days before Memorial Day, we posted a Frosted Sugar Cookie Bar recipe and dressed those cookie bars up with some red and blue frosting to go along with the “white” cookie. Red, white, and blue–get it? But maybe this cookie bar isn’t the healthiest snack in the universe.

Now this week, a few days after the holiday, we’re still in a patriotic mood with our Banana Berry Smoothie. Only this week we’re adding healthy to our mix of flag-waving colors. Healthy is patriotic, right–as long as it tastes good! And this smoothie tastes good and looks so delicious in the glass and is cool and refreshing.

So take some red berries–strawberries are great this time of year and still in season–and mix in some white banana and yogurt then add a few blue blueberries and whirl it all together and you have this healthy and patriotic smoothie, a delicious farewell to the holiday just past or a great anticipation of the holiday to come in just a little over a month.

Or enjoy it anytime–a refreshing and healthy snack in a patriotic theme!

banana berry smoothie

Banana Berry Smoothie

1 banana, previously peeled, sliced, and frozen

1 cup mixed berries, fresh or frozen

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt*

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 teaspoons honey

Add all of the ingredients to a blender in the order listed. Blend on high for 30 seconds, or until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust as necessary; add more honey for a sweeter smoothie, add more milk for a thinner smoothie, or add a handful of ice for a thicker smoothie. Enjoy immediately.

Makes 1 smoothie.

*If you use vanilla Greek yogurt, you can omit the vanilla extract and honey.

berry banana smoothie

{Adapted from Food Network Kitchen}

Before the Mellowing Year, Serial #11, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Before the Mellowing Year, Serial #11, text © Jeffrey Anderson