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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ice Cream

Here is the new gadget my husband bought me! Well, actually I bought it. I have wanted one for a while and we had discussed the different kinds and prices, so I had OK to get one if I found a good deal. We stopped at Sav-a-Lot the other day, and I just ran in since I only had a short list. They had this model for $20. I hadn't seen a better price, so I grabbed it. I decided on this kind because it is electric, and as much as I need the workout, I would probably not use it very often if I got the manual kind. Also, I do not want to have to buy rock salt and then try to figure out how to dispose of the brine each time. This has an insert you put in the freezer and then put in the bottom of the maker before you start it. Oddly enough, I do not really like ice cream. Mostly because it tastes so fake. And then there are the dietary concerns- we have lactose intolerant kids, borderline diabetic kids, and ice cream substitutes are expensive and sometimes hard to find (and sometimes not very yummy)! Now we can substitute whatever we want, making the ice cream good for us.

It worked out so perfectly that we are trying it out today, which is a day of celebration for us after a hard month, and especially this week with our court trial. I wanted to share something really quickly here because I think it is relevant. The night before our trial I was a ball of nerves as was my husband, and then I stopped and said to him, "Can they keep us form going to heaven?" and he said "No". Then I said, "Can they take away our kids?" and he said "No". So we decided to put it in perspective that even if they were able to take our equipment or fine us an insane amount of money, they could not take what was important. It turned out to be nearly prophetic when we found out what was happening to Candy's family. So we are in a way also celebrating for her family. And I am mindful of those who are just beginning their 'month' of struggles, or who are at the end of a struggle that will result in the loss of a family member or a house, or anything. And then there are those who continue in a struggle that began before mine and will end a long time after. I kept saying "If I can only make it to May", almost as if there were something inherently wrong with the month of April. But God made it, He is in it, and the only real difference was what it signified for me. Some people will have their April in October, for some it will be the whole of 2007. There are those rejoicing and those mourning ALL THE TIME. I learned that lesson well after my father-in-law died. My mother-in-law could not be happy for anyone-not the granddaughter who just had a baby, not the marching band for going to regionals, nobody. She felt the world should have stopped when her husband died. I've always kept that in the back of my mind, and try to remind myself that when I am suffering, someone somewhere is rejoicing, and that's OK. And on the same token, when I am celebrating, someone is mourning, and I am mindful of them, even if I do not know the situation. And that's oddly enough how you mix ice cream with theology!

OK, so I decided to make vanilla the first time, waiting until I have figured the system out until I try something wacky (I love mint ice cream, but do not like chocolate, always eating around it, and now I will be able to make mint ice cream without chocolate!!!!) I had been making some vanilla sugar, which I saw on a TV show like 10 years ago. I had used some of the seeds from inside my vanilla bean at Christmas, so I took the rest of the bean and put it in an airtight container with about ¼ cup sugar. It's been sitting there since, and I would pick it up once a week and shake. Today I decided it was ready, so you just scrape the inside of the bean really well with a knife, and also use the sugar from your container, which now has a vanilla taste to it. I set it up and let it run while I made lunch. And it was wonderful! It didn't taste fake at all. So now I can practice some other recipes and be ready with REAL ice cream on those hot summer days when everyone is itchy and tired from baling hay. Summer and ice cream just seem to go together.

Hey, that reminds me of a story. Two years ago when my brother was deployed to Afghanistan (he was in Iraq two years before that- my poor sister-in-law!), we were trying to send him things before winter, because he was way up in the mountains and they would be very cut off and very bored all those freezing cold months. So I went yard-saleing in July and found a hand-turn ice cream maker. This was a very small one, which had the cylinder that you freeze so you didn't need salt. I bought a bunch of the ice cream mix pouches they have at Wal-Mart, and I mailed two large boxes with the ice cream maker, ice cream mixes, powdered milk, waffle cone bowls, and sundae toppings to my brother. He got them just before winter (it was different than when he was in Iraq and could call often and mail was fast because this time they were out in the middle of nowhere). When he got home, he told me of the sundae party his men had and what a great time it was. They just stuck the cylinder outside (which is what I figured would work), mixed up powdered milk and flavor mix, and started turning. When I sent it I told him I didn't expect him to try and bring it home with him since we had all been mailing stuff the whole time and he would have a limited amount he could carry back, so it is probably now in the possession of some replacement soldier doing his turnin those lonely mountains. Or some Afghani woman in some mountain village!

So there you are. I will probably try to post some recipes as I come up with presentable results. And may God's voice be clear to you wherever you are and whatever season you are in (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

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