Spring break is upon us, and I know that without a plan, I’d go nuts for two weeks. Here are some of the adventures we plan on getting into:
Legoland: There is a new 4-D Movie, based on the popular Lego City cartoons! You can check out a preview here. Plus the usual fun stuff, and of course Granny’s Apple Fries. YUM.
Balboa Park: As we have two weeks off, that gives us two opportunities to enjoy two Resident Free Days down at Balboa Park. If you can’t get down to Balboa Park on a free Tuesday, you should definitely make it down for the new exhibits and films down at The Nat.
Tide Pools: The Pacific Ocean is still too cold to swim in during April, but it’s never too cold to explore the Tide Pools. My favorite Tide Pool is at Cabrillo National Park. Here is a list of the 6 best Tide Pools in San Diego.
Swimming: While the ocean may be cold, our local pools are not. The Cameron Family YMCA has a great children’s splash pad/pool, The Ned Baumer Pool in Mira Mesa has a kids pool/splash pad, and the Tierrasanta Pool has a fun splash pad for littler kids.
San Diego Zoo: As I’m sure most of you are aware, the Pandas are going back home to China at the end of April (April 27th to be exact). I’ll be taking the kids to the zoo at least once to say goodbye to the pandas and see the other animals. But, no trip to the Children’s Zoo Playground. The Children’s Zoo is closed while they remodel the area.
Play dates at the Park: We’ll be playing with our friends at the park, investigating the creeks, and doing crafts with our friends. I’ve ordered a couple craft kits, including a suncatcher kit, and a Bouncy Ball making kit.
Being Lazy at Home: I can’t be expected to run all over town for 2 weeks, right? We’ll for sure have (at least) one day at home where we will hang out in our PJ’s, eat popcorn, and watch movies.
Talk Back: If you haven’t already had your spring break, what will you be doing?
We love Ice Cream! But, it can be expensive, a carton that’s not a half gallon can run upwards of $5.00 around these parts. Most cartons of ice cream are 1.5 to 1.75 quarts, that’s a decrease from 2 quarts or a half gallon just 10 years ago. Same price (or more) and less product. No thanks.
And honestly, there are a lot of weird ingredients in store bought ice cream. Food stabilizers, thickeners (like seaweed), and artificial flavors/colors. No thanks!
After meeting with a nutritionist recently regarding my big kids food issues stemming from sensory issues related to ASD, she recommended more full fat dairy products to help make sure he was getting enough fats in his diet. A kid can only drink so much milk, so I decided to make some ice cream from scratch.
I borrowed my parents Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker, which you can buy on Amazon, or probably at your local Bed Bath and Beyond. It makes 2 quarts at a time. It comes with a great cook book full of all kinds of great recipes and ideas.
After looking through that cook book, as well as looking through several of my own, and a quick internet search, I came up with several ideas on how to concoct some tasty ice cream. I asked the kids for flavor suggestions. Two choices were the big winners:
Peanut butter ice cream with chocolate chips- I opted to use PB Fit instead of blending peanut butter into the milk/cream/sugar mixture- so it would have a better texture. I was also worried that the extra fat from the peanut butter would mess with the fat ratio and inhibit the hardening of the mixture.
Chocolate Malt- I used the basic recipe below, but added 1/4 c malt powder. I buy a huge container of malt powder on Amazon every quarter, but you can get smaller sized containers at Walmart or in the grocery store.
Making Ice Cream is easy. If you’ve got an ice cream maker, you just mix up your ingredients, pour into the drum of the maker, put the lid on, flip the switch and 15-20 minutes, you’ll have a pretty soft ice cream. Scoop it into an airtight container with a lid (like Tupperware), and freeze it for about 2 hours. Then it’ll be hard enough to eat.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, don’t fret, you can use two coffee cans (cleaned out of course), some ice, salt, and duct tape and make it at home- This is the method we used when I was a kid. You can read all about it here along with a true and funny story about making ice cream with kids. This is also a fun thing to do while camping- You can pre-mix the ingredients and take it in your cooler.
Here is the basic recipe I use. Please note that the ingredients used are chosen specifically for their fat content so the ice cream will be creamy. If you alter the ingredients at all, the ice cream will be gritty, grainy, or have ice crystals in it.
Ice Cream Base (makes about 1.5 quarts)
2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream- DO NOT USE half and half, fat free half and half or non-dairy creamer).
1 cup whole milk- You have to use whole milk or you’ll get ice crystals
3/4 c sweetener (I used white sugar, you can also use brown sugar, or 1 for 1 Splenda)
1 T Vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Prepare Ice Cream maker as machine instruction call for, or set up your Coffee Can ice cream maker.
Place all ingredients into chilled mixing bowl, and mix with hand mixer until all ingredients are well blended,
Pour into cream cream maker.
Turn on ice cream maker, or start rolling your coffee cans!
If you want to make my PB Fit ice cream, add 3/4 c PB Fit and 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips in step two.
Chocolate Malt ice cream is the base recipe with 3/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 c malt powder, and an additional 1/2 c brown sugar.
Now onto the economics: Is making your own ice cream cheaper? Usually, yes. We used flavorings that we already have on hand, and I recommend that you do the same- You know what flavors you like, and you probably already have some flavorings on hand.
32 oz. Whipping cream- $4.99
1 qt. Whole Milk .99
That’s enough cream to make 2 2-quart batches of ice cream.
You can watch a video of the ice cream maker going here, and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram too! I post all kinds of fun stuff there!
Disclaimer: I have linked to items on Amazon. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. Monies earned through commissions are used to offset the costs associated with running the blog (and the occasional cup of coffee).
Talk Back: What is your favorite flavor of Ice Cream? Have you ever made Ice Cream at home before?