Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Fourth of July Floats: Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream Treat

Funny to think that ice cream, the classic summer sweet we love so much today was also a favorite of our founding mothers and fathers. Benjamin Franklin, George and Martha Washington and Thomas Jefferson all indulged in the frosty novelty of the time. So what better treat to serve on America's Birthday than America's favorite dessert?
Where colonials laboriously hauled frozen blocks from their ice houses, for our version we'll take advantage of modern conveniences (the freezer) to whip up this easy four ingredient no churn recipe.
I used this deliciously simple recipe from the fabulous site instructables and decided to add some seasonal ripe cherries; yummy on it's own or nostalgic popped into tall fizzy float.

Cherry Vanilla No-churn Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
14 ounce can condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
10 ounce bag frozen cherries

Let cherries thaw just slightly and roughly chop in food processor or blender
some whole cherries may remain
Whip cream into soft peaks in chilled bowl 
stir vanilla thoroughly into condensed milk and fold into cream
gently stir cherries into mixture swirling but not over-mixing to combine in a marble pattern  
pour very gently into loaf pan and lightly smooth surface
(handle carefully to keep as much air as possible in the mixture)
I had enough ice cream to fill another small glass bowl (yay)
cover with plastic wrap and freeze 4-6 hours or overnight
let soften slightly before scooping

serve as is or top an icy coca-cola for a refreshing float

Ice cream fun facts 
The first American ice cream parlor opened in 1790 in New York City

Ice cream wasn't always a sweet treat! First Lady and avid ice cream fan Dolly Madison enjoyed oyster ice cream while other flavors included asparagus, parmesan and chestnut.

"Iced creams of great variety" were listed on the menu for a Pennsylvania Fourth of July celebration in 1791

Ice cream was such a hit that large estates including Mt. Vernon had their own ice cream machines

Ancient Romans enjoyed a version with ice brought down from mountain tops

I found these and more interesting information about food history plus an authentic historic recipe from Chef Walter Staib at the fascinating www.pbsfood

From our home to yours
Wishing our U.S. readers a 
Happy July Fourth
and our international readers
 a sweet summer!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Happy Memorial Day!

Wishing our US Readers 
A Happy Holiday Weekend!
PennyWise will be kicking off summer with new seasonal projects, DIY's and recipes so please check back!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Memorial Day: Colleville-sur-Mer American Cemetery

 Last Year I had the honor of visiting the beaches of Normandy, France and the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, a place of rest for those lost in Europe during World War Two. Although not typical of our posts, I thought Memorial Day a fitting time to share some photos of this both heartbreaking and breathtaking place.
 The bronze statue entitled Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves

 9,387 Americans of different faiths, including three women, rest here.

 The names 1,557 lost and not recovered are listed on the memorial wall circling the central garden. 
A time capsule with reports of the Normandy landings is sealed and buried by the visitor's center and is set to be opened June 6th 2044

The land is perpetually granted to the U.S. free of charge

Trees line the bluff overlooking the water. 
The grounds are impeccably maintained

 Approximately one million visitors a year pay tribute here

 Arromanches, France, outside the D-day Museum 

Bunker with wildflowers, Normandy France

Wishing all our U.S. readers
 Health and Happiness this 
Memorial Day
 to our readers overseas
a Happy Start to Summer

The graphics fairy

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Tea Cup Pin Cushion: DIY gift for Mom

No matter how old one gets, our mothers still seem to cherish most those gifts that are made by hand. So with Mother's day fast approaching I thought I'd whip up an easy DIY that combines two of my Mom's loves: sewing and tea.
During a recent window shopping venture I stumbled on the most delightful little teacup pincushions but with a less than delightful price tag I immediately thought of ways to recreate one at home. Although a quick search online revealed pages of how-to's for fun variations of this project, they all used the same basic elements, just personalized with favorite colors, styles or theme.
Not just for mothers or grandmothers, this is a sweet gift for anyone who enjoys sewing and cup of tea.
I used
a thrifted tea cup
a pot scrubby 
(you can also use fiberfill or a small pincushion if fits snugly)
scrap of fabric
tiny scissors
ribbon or trim

 wrap fabric around scrubby
secure with rubber band, trimming excess.
glue into cup and add trim and accents if desired
I added faux pearl trim and tiny flowers
a tag and mini scissors tied with ribbon makes a lovely (and handy) addition

I created tags with a vintage image from the fabulous the graphics fairy

A Happy Mother's Day
to Grandmothers, Godmothers, Stepmothers
Pet Mothers 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Colorful Cape May: Victorian Bird House

Admittedly one usually visits a beach resort for sun and sand more than history and Victorian architecture, but delightful Cape May NJ offers the best of both worlds.
 In fact some of my favorite times to visit are "off season"; and while a dip in the ocean might not be a possibility during these cooler months, the country's first "beach town" still offers plenty to see and do. 
A recent quick girl's Spring getaway found us enjoying a painting workshop at historic Congress hall, sampling fabulous seafood at the many restaurants and browsing for treasures at the countless colorful boutiques and antique shops.
photos: CPaul2016 starting top left, sweet treats, Spring at the Virginia hotel, Exit Zero newspaper office, Mad Batter restaurant and Carroll Villa Hotel, historic Congress Hall lobby and entrance, colorful shops, The blue Pig tavern, the famous Pink House, Angel of the sea B&B

The famous Pink house now sells estate jewelry
Naturally we arrived home inspired by Cape May's charm. 
Among the most distinctive features of this delightful town are the
"painted ladies". These whimsically adorned buildings, many historic, boast intricate "gingerbread" woodwork and often brilliant combinations of cheery candy colors, distinctive to the era. So with hints of Spring in the air, I thought I'd fashion my own painted lady in honor of my feathered friends here at home.

Victorian Inspired Birdhouse
 I used
a wooden birdhouse 
Most craft stores carry very inexpensive unfinished versions-
 or maybe redo a thrift find or birdhouse you already have that needs a facelift
colorful acrylic and craft paints
dimensional puffy paints
My birdhouse is for indoor decor so I'm not sure how it would hold up outside, but outdoor friendly paint is best if it will be in the elements
lace or trim
shells and sand 
spray varnish
I mix and matched pastel acrylics and chalky finish colors 
playful - not too perfect patterns add whimsy
Spray painting trim adds a smooth finish and makes it sturdier and easier to be added as "gingerbread woodwork" detail.
 I trimmed it to size and accented with contrasting colors and dimensional dots of paint.
a playful cat and simple bike add character
Shells and sand give a nod to the beach setting

To Happy Summer Days ahead
Thanks for Visiting!

Monday, April 18, 2016

April in Paris: Parisian inspired round-up

While April can call to mind less than pleasant associations (rainy gray days, tax time) on a lighter note, turning the calendar page always brings to mind the classic song, (and later movie) April in Paris; those three words now epitomizing Springtime glamour and romance.
So, as an avid francophile it seemed a fitting time to revisit some of our french themed DIY"s, recipes and travel posts in a quick recap.
 It's easy to bring a little Joie du Vivre to your day with some easy projects. 
We made faux macarons in vive le macaron
a petit Eiffel tower from a garden store trellis in Springtime in Paris

We celebrated l'amour with candy wrappers, pink birds and a sweet dessert in

and we shared some of our (budget friendly) travels 

A Big 
Merci Beaucoup!
to all our
 lovely readers

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Good Morning: April Fools breakfast

While most admit it's more fun to play a prank than be the victim of one, the target of this "fooled you" breakfast might not be too annoyed when you substitute conventional morning foods for surprise sweet treats.
There are countless fun and creative faux food ideas out there, 
(a quick online search yields a surprisingly dizzying amount of results) 
but I opted for a few simpler ideas I found to start my loved one's April Fool's Day with a smile.
April Fool's Breakfast
Faux fried egg, toast, hash browns and coffee
is really....
Vanilla Greek yogurt
mango (I used a chunk of frozen mango)
pound cake
chocolate pudding or mousse
chocolate sauce
brown sugar
ground cinnamon
Saute finely diced apple with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until golden brown and resembling hash browns.
 Carefully spread yogurt onto plate to make egg white shape. Roughly cut mango in circular shape and flatten with large spoon- adjust shape by hand and place "yolk" into yogurt
I've seen versions of this popular prank made with a half peach or an apricot might work as well
toast slices of poundcake until lightly browned and butter

I garnished with real fruit and sprig of mint
For "coffee", spoon pudding into cup, smoothing top and wiping off any excess. If desired pour layer of chocolate syrup over surface to create a more liquid-like deeper brown effect.
Yes that's a lot of chocolate!
a coffee press filled with the real thing adds authenticity and is a must lest serious caffeine lovers become disgruntled

April Fool's Fun Facts
   Some trace the roots of this holiday back to 1582 Europe when the Julian calendar was changed to the Gregorian calendar. Since news traveled a bit slow back then, many did not know of the change and were referred to as April fools.

In France the holiday is celebrated with similar pranks but targets are referred to as April Fish instead of fools and often images of fish are placed unknowingly on their backs

In 1957 the BBC had many in the UK fooled when they ran a story about a bumper crop of noodles in the annual Swiss Spaghetti harvest. (See the hilarious video: Spaghetti Harvest.)
 Pasta not being a very familiar food in England at the time, some viewers called in to ask about purchasing their own spaghetti trees.
source unavailable
For more fun and foolish facts visit This day in history: April Fools

Thanks for Visiting!