I can't say that it really felt like the Fourth of July here this weekend. With the cool, 50-60 degree temperatures and World Cup fervor abounding, it felt decidedly foreign. It's one of those holidays that you really need to be in the U.S. for. We spent our day doing the usual stuff--cooking and playing, with a bit of soccer thrown in. It's a bit dangerous to be out and about during the World Cup games here (tons of people have been seriously injured or killed), and there was a big game the day of the 4th, so we stuck close to home.
We had a nice weekend overall--a goodbye party, a "just the grownups" dinner with friends, bike-riding, more cooking, and hanging out with the kids. They are such a joy to spend time with right now. They are constantly saying the funniest things, and it makes me laugh so much. SB is particularly funny. When she gets angry and frustrated and terribly twoish, she will start to throw a tantrum, and then say "I am so mad!", crossing her arms across her chest and pouting. And then when I ask why she is so mad, she says "because I'm not getting my way!" Her tone is perfectly disgruntled. It makes me laugh every time. I have to get it on video. It's truly priceless.
I cooked and cooked and cooked this weekend: strawberry muffins and a vanilla-passionfruit cake, blackberry waffles and barbecued chicken, chocolate chip waffles (we all love waffles!) and chicken veggie soup, banana coconut ice cream with candied almonds. . .and on and on. I find it so relaxing, and it's so nice to be able to feed my family and friends well.
The super easy Slow Cooker Barbecued Chicken was a particularly big hit:
1 cup of ketchup
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup sugar
2 T molasses
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup water
I threw the chicken in the crock pot on low, mixed the sauce, poured it over the chicken, and cooked it on low for 6 hours. It was fall-off-the-bone tender, and took all of five minutes as we were on our way out of the house to go bike riding. It definitely is a keeper.
My mom also sent us an ice cream maker recently as a surprise. It's the Cuisinart 2 quart model, and I LOVE it. We just keep the bowl in the freezer all the time, and we can make ice cream whenever. It takes less than a half an hour to make soft-serve, and it makes perfect hard ice cream, too (you just have to throw it in the freezer for a while). I had a pile of bananas I needed to use up, and T had asked for banana ice cream, so I threw some together tonight after dinner, and it was AMAZING.
Coconut Banana Ice Cream with Carmelized Almonds
About 4-5 overripe bananas (I used finger bananas, but you can use regular)
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix together in food processor until liquified. Add in:
1 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened dried, because I can't easily get sweetened here).
In a separate bowl, mix together:
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream (I actually used a cup of heavy cream and a cup of milk, because the heavy cream here is the consistency of sour cream and has about 32% fat content--too greasy for me in ice cream! I've found you can play with the milk-cream ratio, according to taste. Just make sure there is 2 cups total.)
Put the cream mixture in the ice cream maker; when thickened into ice cream and almost done, add in banana mixture. It will get a bit thin again, but will thicken up after a bit more time.
To make almonds, boil together a cup of sugar and 1/4 cup water until it thickens; drop in almonds until coated; remove them and cool on a plate until ready to use. Sprinkle over ice cream before serving.
Hope you and yours had a happy 4th!