Desserts, ice cream, kitchen, Quick and easy, Recipes, Sharing

Fabulicious Root Beer Ice Cream

Ooohs, aaahs and mmmmmmms filled my kitchen this afternoon, finally broken by my teenager’s question, “Do we have to save some for Pez?”  J.S., who was asking, had also been the one to make the ice cream we were enjoying.  Unlike the times when he helps make other food in the kitchen, he volunteered to do it.  Practically begged.

Pez would be home from kindergarten in about 15 minutes – plenty of time to finish off the rest of the ice cream and hide the evidence.  Then again, he’d probably smell it the minute he came in. Darn.

So I did the grownup thing and said that we had to share.(Too bad I didn’t think of just airing the house out.)

Root beer ice cream became an instant favorite at our house after I first experimented with making it. I had a tiny vial of root beer extract that had been sitting on my shelf since I’d picked up at Wal-mart the Christmas before, and thought that instead of spending time making root beer and ice cream for floats I would try combining the two.

It was a hit.

Unfortunately, that was the last time I ever saw root beer extract for sale in our town.


Finally, during my vacation in Utah last month, I hit the jackpot. I was at the grocery store with my mom, and happened to look up and see a shelf full of beautiful bottles of root beer extract. Bless the Utahans.

I quickly grabbed four of them to pack home (bottles, not Utahans), crossing my fingers that they wouldn’t leak all over the books that nearly filled the rest of my suitcase.

I hope they last until my next visit.

(The bottles, I mean. There’s no way the books will last that long.)

Next on my list is to come up with a dairy-free version.  I generally use coconut milk for dairy-free ice cream, but I don’t think coconut and root beer would make a good combination.  When I find something that works, I’ll let you know.

Meanwhile, I’ll take pity on you and quit my rambling to share the actual recipe.

Warning:  do not attempt to make this unless you have access to a ready supply of root beer extract.  You have been warned.

Fabulicious Root Beer Ice Cream

  • 3 C whole milk* (or 2 C milk and 1 C cream)
  • 3/4 C sugarCuisinart ice cream maker
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 tsp root beer extract

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mix well. Freeze according to your
ice cream maker’s instructions.

(I use the Cuisinart ice cream maker pictured at right, which
I highly recommend.  The ice cream is ready to eat in
about half an hour, and no
rock salt or ice are needed.)

*I use raw, organic whole milk, which has an abundance of cream.

Have a great summer!

Chocolate, Dairy-free, kitchen, Quick and easy, Recipes, Saving money, Sharing

Dairy-free Hot Fudge Sauce

This chocolatey recipe is quick, easy, inexpensive and tastes better than store-bought versions.  What more can you ask?

Dairy-free Hot Fudge Sauce

1/2 C cocoa
2 C sugar
1/8 tsp salt

Image by hakze at

1 C boiling water
1 tsp vanilla

Mix cocoa, sugar and salt in a medium sized saucepan. (Don’t use a small pan, as the mixture rises up when it boils.)  Add boiling water and stir well. Boil 2-3 minutes.

Cool, then add vanilla.  Store in refrigerator.

Note: Be aware that this thickens as it cools. Choose a shorter boiling time if you want a thin sauce to mix in milk for chocolate milk, or boil it a bit longer for a thick sauce to spoon over ice cream or fruit.

kitchen, Quick and easy, Recipes, Sharing

Quick and Easy Recipe: Spencer’s Special

This is a quick and easy main dish for busy days, and is one of my family’s favorites.  I have a plastic “bagel knife” that my younger children use to slice the meat, and sometimes they peel the sweet potatoes as well.  I like to serve it with applesauce or fresh fruit.

Spencer’s Special

1 pkg Polish Kielbasa
2-3 sweet potatoes Keilbasa Dinner

Slice kielbasa, and put in a large skillet over low heat.  Peel sweet potatoes, and slice thinly.  Add to skillet, and put on lid.  Cook for ten minutes, stirring a couple of times as it cooks.  Avoid stirring too often, or the sweet potatoes will fall apart.

Remove lid. At this point, you can add in green beans or bits of kale, if you like,  for added color and nutrition.  Continue cooking without the lid for for a few minutes until the meat is browned.  Serve.


Chocolate, Dairy-free, kitchen, Quick and easy, Recipes, Sharing

Dairy-free Chocolate Tapioca Pudding Recipe

I came up with this dairy-free version of chocolate pudding as a quick and easy chocolate dessert for my daughter, who is allergic to cow’s milk.  The rest of the family likes the rich chocolate taste so well that I keep plenty of tapioca on hand so I can make it regularly.  The hardest part of making this is making myself wait until it cools a bit before eating it.  I have to admit I’ve burned my tongue more than once–it’s so hard to resist!

Be sure to use regular coconut milk, as the “lite” will not thicken as well.


Serves 6-8

1/3 C tapioca pearls (not quick tapioca)
3/4 water
2 eggs
1/3 C cocoa
2/3 C sugar
pinch of salt
1 can (about 14 oz) coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla

In a medium saucepan, combine tapioca and water, then let soak for about 15 minutes or so.

(Check the label; some brands need soaking more than others. One person told me that hers said to soak it overnight!)

Beat in eggs with a whisk.  Add in cocoa, sugar and salt.  Dump in coconut milk.

Dairy-free Chocolate Tapioca Pudding
If your can of coconut milk is coming from a cold garage, as mine was, it will come out in a blob. Don't worry, it will liquefy as the pudding heats.

Cook on medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  Bring to a boil, then boil for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in vanilla.

Pudding may be served warm or cold.  I personally think it tastes best when the kids are playing in the backyard, blissfully unaware that mother has a bowlful of chocolate pudding all to herself.


Freezer Meals, kitchen, Quick and easy, Recipes

Recipe: Salmon Patties

These are very quick and easy to mix up and pop into the oven on a busy night, and even my fish-hating kids like them well enough to ask for seconds!  This recipe makes approximately 8-12 patties, depending on their size.  They also freeze well.  Just you put them between two layers of wax paper so you can separate the frozen patties easily.

SALMON PATTIEScat eating fish

2 cans salmon, drained
3 eggs, beaten
1 TBS lemon juice
2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 C flour
1/4 C minced celery (opt.)
1/2 C minced onion (opt.)

Preheat oven to 350◦.  Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  Spoon into patties a few inches apart on a greased baking sheet.  Bake  for 25-30 min.

kitchen, lunches, Quick and easy, Time-savers, Tips

Time-saving Tip: The Quick Way to Chop Eggs

I used to chop up my boiled eggs one at a time, either with a knife or an egg-slicer. Now I’ve come up with an easier method, and it’s so quick I couldn’t believe it the first time I tried it.

The trick? Use a pastry blender! You know, one of those little gadgets that you drag out during the holidays to use for cutting shorting into flour for a pie.

A bowlful of boiled eggs and a pastry blender
A pastry blender makes quick work of chopping eggs


If you don’t make pies you might not own a pastry blender.   If you do, give it a try the next time you need to chop eggs.  And if you don’t, but have a large family who love egg salad sandwiches, it might be worth investing in this great little tool just for the eggs!


Chopped up eggs in a bowl


It took me longer to take these pictures than to chop up the whole bowlful of eggs.  So I can smile at all the time I saved, and my kids will smile when they see that they get egg salad sandwiches in their lunches.  I hope this brings you a smile, too!