Friday, June 30, 2017

Chocolate Mousse Ice Cream #IceCreamSocial

Sue of Palatable Pastime invited us to join her for an ice cream social today. "Join in for a fun posting with frozen treats of any kind, such as ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato,sorbets, ices, affogatos, malts and shakes, ice cream cakes, ice cream pies, ice cream sandwiches, sundaes, popsicles, what have you," she wrote. 'Tis the season.

Here are the what the other cool gals are bringing to the #IceCreamSocial...

"Mom," R commented, "you have never made chocolate ice cream." True. I usually stick to the fruity flavors. So, we fixed that...and he declared it the best chocolate ice cream he'd ever had! As far as the name - Chocolate Mousse - R said that it was just like frozen mousse. He loves mousse.

D disagreed that it was the best ever, but admitted, "It's not too bad, Mommy."

  • 1 C heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 C organic granulated sugar
  • 3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 t ground cinnamon

Place all of the ingredients in your ice cream maker and process according to your machine. Ours took about 30 minutes to come to a soft, gelato-like texture. Spoon ice cream into a container and freeze for at least an hour before serving. 

Quick Summer Dinner: Salumi, Formaggi, e Amarone #ItalianFWT

Here we are at the July edition of the Italian Food Wine & Travel group. This month, we're thinking, writing about, and pouring Italian Summer wines. 

Join my fellow wine bloggers as they share more Italian wines for you to indulge in this summer. Also, join us live on Twitter this Saturday July 1st at 11am EST at #ItalianFWT.  See you then! 

While summer time is much more relaxed in terms of schedules, days are longer and sometimes we'll head to the beach to walk and play before we go home and think about what to eat. I love summer evenings on the beach! I don't even mind when I end up on my rear in the water!!

But, if we stay and watch the sunset, I want a quick summer dinner when we walk through the door. And, more often than not, I'll throw together a meal of salumi, formaggi, and wash it all down with Italian wine.

Just a couple of notes...get creative when you make a cheese and charcuterie board. Mix textures. Think hard and soft cheeses, think soft, dried fruits and crunchy nuts. Play with colors. I like to see white cheeses, red meats, and green olives. About my post title...

It's not a misspelling of 'salami.' Salumi referes to Italian cold cuts and is roughly the same as what the French call chacuterie: cured or preserved meats. It's a broad category and can refer to meats that are salt-cured, smoked, fermented, preserved in fat (confit), or even ground into pastes. Salami is a kind of salumi in that it's a dry-cured, salted sausage. So salami is salumi, but not necessarily the other way around. I opted for a mixed pack from Trader Joe's that included a salami, prosciutto, and capacollo.

That's just cheese, plural. You can never have enough cheese, right? For the wines I prefer, I usually pair with mature, robust cheeses. For this pairing (I'll get to that in a moment), I went with Parmigiano Reggiano, Gorgonzola, and a spiced fresh Mozzarella.

I finished off the platters with marinated olives, roasted almonds, fresh apricots and raspberries, dried dates, and bread - both regular and gluten-free.

Amarone della Valpolicella is a rich, dry Italian red wine from the Veneto region. It's typically produced primarily from the Corvina grape and characterized by big, bold flavors. Despite its iconic status, Amarone only received DOCG recognition within this decade.

They say that you can safely forget an Amarone in your wine cellar as even average Amarones can be aged for 10-15 years. And, depending on the vintage and aging technique, these can even be held for up to three decades after bottling! The one I uncorked was 13 years old.

Now, most people think of Amarone as an Autumn or Winter wine. They are amazing with long-braised or slow-roasted meats and hearty stews. They are deep, rich, and warm. But because all Amarones work well with big-flavored cheeses, I have no qualms about uncorking them for a quick summer dinner of salumi and formaggi.

This one had such robust aromas and voluptuous flavors. I got ripe stone fruits as well as smoke, coffee, and the ever alluring hint of tobacco and earth. What a beautiful Amarone...and super easy dinner.

Looking Ahead...
Next month we'll be exploring the alpine regions of Italy with Jill at L'Occasion. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Red, White, and Blue Scones #July4Recipes

July 4th, 1776 is the date the Second Continental Congress adopted The United States' Declaration of Independence effectively ending British rule. Now we celebrate our independence each year on July 4th with fireworks, picnics, parades and backyard barbecues across our nation. Join these 11 bloggers as we celebrate and share some patriotic themed recipes! Thanks to Ellen of Family Around the Table for organizing this.

Red, White, and Blue Scones

Happy birthday, America! I decided to go patriotic and made red, white, and blue scones. Gotta love all the fresh blueberries and strawberries at this time of year!

  • 2 ½ C gluten-free flour blend
  • ½ C organic granulated sugar
  • ½ t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 8 T cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 C heavy organic cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C fresh blueberries
  • 4 fresh strawberries, thinly sliced
  • 1 T cream
  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 2 T heavy organic cream

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder. Using a pastry cutter, blend the butter into the dry ingredients until the dough resembles pea-sized chunks. Add the cream, egg, and blueberries, using a spatula to form a ball.

Transfer to a floured surface and gently press into a disc. Cut the disc into wedges.

Gently slice each scone through the center with a floured knife. Put a few slices of strawberry in the center.

Replace the top on the scone and lightly pinch the sides closed. Place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle a tablespoon of cream on the tops of the scones. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Bake at 400 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes. The scone will be nicely raised and slightly golden.

Remove the scones from the oven and set them on a wire rack to cool slightly while you make the glaze.

In a small bowl whisk together powdered sugar and cream until you have a smooth glaze. Pour 1 teaspoon of glaze over the top of each scone. Let set up and serve warm.

We're More of an Umlaut-Kinda Family #FoodieReads

As I happily continue with my Foodie Reads Challenge, I am sharing The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman as my third, and probably final, June read.* I might be able to squeeze in one more book this month. Maybe. 

In any case, I had a gift certificate to a local bookstore (yes, we still have one!) from Christmas and this one caught my eye. We love ice cream and I thought this might be a nice novel wrapped around one of our favorite summer treats. I took it with me this past weekend. So, while the boys splashed in the pool at the hotel, I raced through this book.

On the Page...
The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street spans seven decades, following Malva Treynovsky from when she and her family immigrate to the United States in 1913 from Russia to her transformation to Lillian Maria Dinello and, finally, her ascension to Ice Cream Queen status as Lillian Dunkle. This really is a rags to riches tale about a young immigrant who is struck by an ice cream truck. She is adopted by the family who injured her after her mother abandons her at the hospital. 

I truly enjoyed the history, her (fictional?!) invention of soft-serve ice cream, and her fierce entrepreneurial spirit.

As she's explaining to kids about ice cream... "In fact, the last goddamn thing you ever want in ice cream is ice itself. We manufacturers constantly struggle to keep our products from crystallizing. The worst thing in the world is when ice cream develops that rash of frost that makes it gummy and stale."

"Here's what we do want in ice cream, though which nobody ever seems to grasp: Air."

"Air is what gives ice cream its butter-cloud consistency, its magical texture" (p.245).

But, as Lillian aged, she devolved into a truly unlikable woman, in my estimation - mine and a lot of others; she is convicted for tax evasion and explains it to her sister: "[I owe more] than a lot. So sue me: I was grieving. I got careless. I was missing Bert, and so I started shopping. And oh, hell. I suppose I misrepresented a few purchases. I suppose I helped myself to a few things. I got cute with the truth" ( p.491).

It's a shame that I grew to dislike her antics so much because I think there might have been a good book here.

In the Bowl...
She's disdainful of other companies. "'Umlaut' was the nickname I'd given to another ice cream company. I had made it our policy never to dignify our competition by uttering their real names.... Umlaut, as I called it, was a company that was making waves lately because it produced 'super-premium,' a high-fat ice cream with a nearly unpronounceable name - two a's, an umlaut over one of them, and a hyphen, for Chrissakes."

"Umlaut had a new Chocolate Chocolate Chip ice cream that a food writer in New York magazine had described as 'transcendent...' (pg. 400).

She scoffs, "This Umlaut is nothing but a fad. 'Luxury ice cream'? Boysenberry? Carob? Are those even flavors? Who the hell eats that?" (pg. 401).

Well, the Mann clan does. We're definitely more of an Umlaut-kinda family. Actually, one of our favorite ice cream purveyors is Chef Ron Mendoza of Revival Ice + Cream in downtown Monterey. Now his flavors are transcendent! Pure deliciousness. And absolutely luxurious.

Chef Ron uses kelp, pollen, rose geranium, and all sorts of crazy, creative combinations. Tonight I picked up a pint of his Mint Eucalyptus Fudge. Is that even a flavor? Lillian would bark. Yes. And it's outrageously delectable. 

What about you? Do you have a Dunkle palate or are you more of an umlaut ice cream eater?

*This blog currently has a partnership with in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to and search for the item of your choice.

Here's what everyone else read in June 2017: here.

Warming Up to Arctic Zero #MomsMeet #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Moms Meet
I received complimentary product for the purpose of review, but all opinions are honest and they are my own.
Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.
Two things I want to say before I start: First, we are huge ice cream fans. in we plan stops on road trips based on what towns have good ice cream parlors. It doesn't matter if it's the middle of winter or it's ten o'clock at night, we'll stop for ice cream if there's a good spot!

Second, I have tried Arctic Zero Fit Frozen Dessert Pints before and was not completely sold on the idea. But when the opportunity arose - through my association with Moms Meet - to try Arctic Zero again, I agreed. 

About Arctic Zero...
Based in San Diego, California, Greg Holtman was inspired to create Arctic Zero for his mom, a Type 1 diabetic. His family has always loved desserts and sweets, but most options contained artificial sweeteners and ingredients. With Arctic Zero, he aimed to craft an indulgent dessert that was low on the glycemic scale, lactose-free, GMO-free, and kosher. Most flavors are also gluten-free.

It's low in sugar because it's sweetened naturally by monk fruit. Monk fruit is part of the gourd family and grows on vines. Rarely found in the wild, it's named for the monks who have been cultivating this fruit in China since the 13th century.

It's lactose-free because it's produced using only rBST-free whey protein. It's GMO-free and contains no artificial ingredients. Additionally, each pint provides 3 to 4 grams of protein per serving.

At between $4 to $5 per pint, it's comparable to other frozen desserts. You can find Arctic Zero at selected Target® stores as well as other natural and traditional grocers across the country. Check our your local Albertsons, Kroger, Publix. Sprouts Farmers Market, Safeway, Walmart, and Whole Foods Market. Or use the store locator here.

Our Experience...
A box arrived on my porch with a lot of 'free's on it: GMO-free, lactose-free, guilt-free, compromise-free, and more. All three of my boys, meaning my husband and our two sons, were dubious. "Do you think it's flavor-free, too?" quipped my husband. Hey, give it a chance! I bellowed.

We unpacked the pints, the bowl, the scoop, and the literature. The coloring book was claimed by my younger son; my older son grabbed the instruction card. "Mom," he read, "we need to let the pints thaw before scooping them." How long? "Ten to fifteen minutes," he answered.

We pulled the pints out, took a quick walk up the hill, and watched the sunset into the Pacific. Then, we scooped, tasted, discussed, tasted again, and commented. I think that the thawing part was crucial. When I've had Arctic Zero before, I neglected to do that. And, really, the texture was odd. But, when we followed the instructions this time around, we enjoyed these.

Thawing Instructions
Thaw the pints before enjoying otherwise they will be too hard to scoop. Microwave each pint for 30 seconds or let the pints sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. 

For this tasting, round two with the product, we followed the thawing instructions to the letter. Then we tried six different flavors. We tried some of the 'creamy' flavors, meaning they were smooth; we tried some of the 'chunky' flavors, meaning there were chunks in the mix. We tasted: Rocky Road Trip, Peanut Butter Swirl, Cake Batter, Cherry Chocolate Chunk, Cookie Shake and Salted Caramel. Hands down, the flavor that bubbled to the top of everyone's list was Cake Batter. So, when I talk numbers, I'm using that one as my example.

Here's our quick list...

Pro: You can eat the entire pint, relatively guilt-free. The. Entire. Pint. The Cake Batter pint read 35 calories per serving, so 150 calories for the entire pint.

Pro: You can recognize - and pronounce - every single ingredient. One of the things I've been training my family to do is to read labels on any foods in a package. Our rule of thumb is pretty simple - if you can't pronounce it or don't recognize it, don't buy it! The Cake Batter includes Water, Whey, Sugar, Chicory Root, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Annatto, Salt, and Monk Fruit.

Con: The flavors aren't particularly sophisticated.  If you prefer more daring flavor combinations - I recently tried a Geranium ice cream made with rose geranium, pistachio, and cardamom and Mint-Eucalyptus Fudge is one of my all-time favorites - then this brand might not be particularly satisfying.

Con: While they use the word 'creamy' to describe some of their flavors, they aren't really creamy. They might be smooth, versus icy, but they don't leave that luscious, milky feeling in your mouth when you eat them.

So, if you're looking for a cool, refreshing, slightly sweet after-dinner treat, this could fit the bill. If you are interested in a relatively guilt-free dessert, this could fit the bill. If you need an 'ice cream' that's lactose-free, this fits the bill. If you need something gluten-free you can find one here. And if you want to dig your spoon into a pint and eat all the way to the bottom by yourself, this is a really good option.

I'm not going to say that this is a dessert I'd choose all the time, but we're definitely warming to the Arctic Zero line as an occasional sweet treat. Just be sure to let them thaw properly.

You may find Arctic Zero...
on the website
on Twitter
on Instagram

*Disclosure: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet programMay Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Egyptian Mint Limeade #EatLikeAnEgyptian

Welcome to #EatLikeAnEgyptian! Today we are having fun exploring our favorite Egyptian cuisine recipes to commemorate the holiday of Eid-el-Fitr, which begins at sundown. Thanks to Sue - of Palatable Pastime - for coordinating the event!

Many years ago - actually more than seven years ago from looking at the ticket photo - my boys were fascinated by the ancient Egyptians. We read books about them and watched documentaries about them. Oddly, I think I remember going to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose when I was about that same age.

 And it just so happened that the Tutankhamun exhibit landed in San Francisco that year...just in time for D's 6th birthday. So, naturally, we bought tickets, booked a hotel, invited my parents up, and made a birthday adventure out of it.

The night before we went to the museum, we ate at an Egyptian restaurant in the Outer Richmond where we feasted, watched a belly dancer, and the boys were able to put on some kitschy costumes. They loved it!

The following semester I taught a 6-week class at their school called Tut-Mania! The final class day, we had an Egyptian feast. It's been awhile since I've had Egyptian food, so when Sue suggested a food event, I was in!

Back when I taught Tut-Mania! I served an Egyptian lemonade, Assir Limon. But for today's event, I wanted to make something that intrigued me: Egyptian mint limeade. I'd read about this drink and it's cool frothiness was much needed as the temperatures on California's central coast soared this week. Okay, let's be honest, we live in a temperate, Mediterranean climate here. So, when I say that it was hot, that just means it was over 70 degrees F. Don't laugh.


  • 2 C ice + more for serving
  • 2 C water
  • 4 large organic limes, washed, cut into small pieces, and seeds removed
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 bunch fresh mint leaves, stems removed (about 25-40 mint leaves), more for later
  • 1 C organic granulate sugar

Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor or high-quality blender. Cover and liquefy until you achieve your preferred consistency. Taste and adjust with more sugar or more mint leaves, if you like. Blend again.

Place ice into individual glasses and pour the limeade into the glasses. You can strain it, if you like, but I left my thick like a smoothie. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve immediately.

All of the #InspiredbyNature Progressive Summer Potluck Recipes #sponsored

Every now and then, a sponsor approaches me with an idea that just makes my little foodie heart jump with glee. When Charles Viancin enlisted my help to help them reveal some of their new Summer products, I gathered a few of my favorite bloggers to celebrate the Summer Equinox with a progressive potluck. 

With the help of Charles Viancin, we set a lovely summery table for you. And the Republic of Tea added to the fun with one of their brand-new iced teas, the Organic Black Currant Rosemary Large Iced Tea Pouches. Some of us have incorporated that into our recipes as well.

The Bloghop Schedule...   
If you didn't follow along as we shared recipes for a delicious, five-course meal, or even if you have, you'll find all of the yummy links here. The bloggers shared recipes, posted their thoughts about the Charles Viancin product, and are providing the chance for readers to win a prize package from our sponsor. Read about their drinkware line, the air-tight lids, the utensils, the cooking line, and the tea accessories. You may visit the Charles Viancin Amazon Store: here. And enter the giveaway below. You still have a couple of days to join the fun. One lucky winner will receive one of everything we're featuring. Good luck!!

The Recipe Posts...

featuring the Drink Covers

featuring the Timber 5-Piece Cutting Board

featuring the Air-tight Lids

featuring the Spatulas

featuring the Coasters, Bottle Stoppers, and Lids

The Giveaway...
One of our generous sponsors has contributed a prize package for this event. 
The giveaway runs from June 19th and ends on June 26th, 2017
and is open to US residents only. No purchase necessary.
Individual bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment.

Grateful to Our Sponsors*... 
and how you can find them around the internet

Charles Viancin
on the web, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Pinterest

The Republic of Tea
on the web, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Pinterest, on Instagram

*Disclosure: Bloggers received complimentary products from sponsors for the creation of this event. This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. 
Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are our own.*