ENTERTAINING: Those Lazy Summer Days

EntertainingTime Out
Mary Canovas

 

Happy summer days, filled with fond memories and new beginnings bring us back to nature and let us explore places, people and ourselves. Time to chill out, have fun and relax and, perhaps, try out a few recipes and a craft.  Enjoy – fall is still a while away!

 

Owl Cupcake Cake

AUGUST owls hooOwls, cupcakes and Oreos have been all the rage for a while.  Combine them and you have a winning party centerpiece and cake for birthdays or special occasions.

The great thing about cupcake cakes is that they´re easy to make, totally different and you don´t have to worry about cutting or portions. You don´t even have to bake the cupcakes (buy madalenas instead and cut off top).   Use any color frosting you prefer  – just make sure you position your eyes and wings correctly.

Make individual little owl cupcakes for each guest to go along with the big wise old owl if you don´t want to dismantle the cake too soon.

Ingredients:
• 10 round cupcakes any kind or flavor  + extras for individual owls
• 1 cup or 250gr vanilla frosting any kind  – buttercream, cream cheese etc.
• food coloring
• grated coconut
• sprinkles
• 8 Oreos
• M&M’s
• 7 cashews or peanuts
• gummy gelatin candies
• Pretzels, or Spanish barquillos

To see full assembly watch our video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyGZ0sJYwGE

 

 

Coffee Ice Cream

AUGUST coffeeYou´ll never believe how easy it is to make this recipe.  First – no need of ice cream machines. (The ones we all bought, but so rarely use because we forget to put the bowl in the freezer overnight or we don´t have room for that huge bowl in the freezer)  The ingredients are easily available.  And no eggs, so there´s no problem with salmonella.  Plus you don´t even need an electric mixer.  And last but certainly not least, you don´t have to check on it and mix every 15 minutes until it´s frozen if you´re making it without an ice cream machine.

When I set out to make this recipe, I thought it was nigh on impossible to do all of the above and get a nice cup of ice cream.  Was I surprised and you will be too.  This recipe is quick and painless and your family will love it.  Great after a meal instead of a cup of coffee.  Coffee lovers love it because it isn´t overly sweet and has a real coffee taste. It´s creamy and not too strong and is an excellent pick- me- upper at any time if you make it with regular coffee. Of course you can also make it decaffeinated for the little ones.

And for the not so little ones, add a couple of spoons of brandy, rum or your preferred liqueur to the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 600 ml. heavy or whipping cream
  • 200 ml. condensed milk
  • 3 tablespoons Nescafe or similar (regular or decaffeinated)
  • 2 tablespoons water

Optional to decorate –  Whipped cream, sprinkles, liqueurs, chocolate syrup …

How To

  • Dissolve the instant coffee in 2 tablespoons of water
  • Place the condensed milk and coffee mix into a large bowl and mix well
  • Beat in heavy cream with an electric beater or by hand until  the mix is whipped.
  • Place mixture preferably in a metal bowl (stainless..)
  • Place in the freezer from 2 to 3 hours
  • After 1 hour, stir well and return to freezer for 1 to 2 hours depending on your freezer.
  • Remove from freezer about 10 minutes before serving.

Full video tutorial in our show En Casa Contigo  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0vs09w2DQw

 

 

Instant Chocolate Magic Shell

AUGUST magic  ffRemember those Dairy Queen ice cream cones with the hard chocolate shell?  I´m going to show you how to make an instant chocolate shell for ice cream.  It´s easy and very tasty.  The kids will love it.  It only takes seconds to harden after dipping o pouring the chocolate syrup on an ice cream.

The secret: edible virgin coconut oil –  You can buy it in pharmacies or supermarkets o specialized store.  This is the only edible and tasty oil (tastes mildly like coconut) that immediately solidifies on contact with cold.  It is solid at room temperature.

It not only great on ice cream but also works with any frozen fruit – like bananas.  Freeze a banana on a stick and pour our Magic Shell over it –  you´ve got an instant low calorie banana pop.

Ingredients

  • 150 gr dark chocolate or milk chocolate in small pieces (not commercial chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup or 110 gr edible virgin coconut oil measured as a solid (not as liquid)

How To

  • Place the coconut oil in a saucepan with the chocolate pieces over  simmering water (bain marie) stirring until the chocolate has melted.
  • Let it cool down until it is just warm.  It becomes a solid a room temperature.
  • Use once it is warm.  You can pour it over ice cream or dip your ice cream cone in it.  It will harden in about 10 seconds.
  • Store unused syrup in a tightly sealed container.  Reheat in the microwave or over a bain marie to reuse.

Makes 2 cups.  Lasts 1 month in the fridge.

Video tutorial in Spanish –  En Casa Contigo:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAnLkzhRFAA

 

Lemon Curd

AUGUST lemon kllkjA classic pastry basic. Fill cakes, or make lemon meringue tarts, lemon mousse, on cookies, toast or English scones…  Absolutely essential for an English tea party.
A refreshing taste, not too sweet nor too tart. Easy to make, lasts a week in the refrigerator.

Quantity: about 1 1/2 cups
Ingredients
• 3 large eggs
• 150 gr – 3/4 cup sugar
• 80 ml – 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 60 gr – 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
    1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

How To
• Put the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a bowl over gently simmering water (bain marie)

  • Wisk until all the ingredients are well blended.
  • Heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens (yogurt- like texture- about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the water bath and pass through a fine sieve.
  • Stir in the butter

Cover well and Cool in the refrigerator. Last 1 week in fridge.

See  how to in Spanish:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKgTSDmC_UM

 

DIY Reed Diffuser

AUGUST sticksDo you need an air freshener but don´t like those artificial scents?  Are you are aware of the danger some of the chemicals found in commercial air fresheners pose to your health?  This may be just your thing – A Natural Aromatherapy Reed Diffuser.

Take advantage of the benefits of natural essential oils, choose your favorite or mix them to your taste – you can even use your own perfume instead of oils.  Reed Diffusers are very easy to make and inexpensive alternatives to all those chemicals we breathe into our bodies every time they spray in our homes. They are gentler and will not harm children or expectant moms and you will save a lot of money.  You can buy essential oils online, in pharmacies o nature stores.

Materials
• A clean narrow neck bottle or container so the content does not evaporate easily
• Bamboo reeds or thin bamboo barbecue sticks or skewers
• 1/4 cup – 32 gr. mineral oil (Johnson´s Baby)  but you can use light vegetable oils such as safflower or sunflower or sweet almond oil – not olive – too heavy. This carrier oil will rise up your reeds taking with it the essential oils.
• 2 tablespoons undiluted and unflavored vodka. It makes the carrier oil lighter.
• 15 to 25 drops of essential oil or blend your own mix.  Some popular combinations are lavender oil and lemon or orange and cinnamon or mint and basil.
• You can also use your favorite perfume.

How To:
• Stir together the mineral or vegetable oil with vodka until well blended.
• Add the drops of essential oil or perfume
• Stir well and pour into prepared clean container.
• Insert as many reeds as will fit in the container mouth
• Turn the reeds upside down every week for optimal diffusion of essential oils.

Video tutorial En Casa Contigo : 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_4YrMLRurs&list=PL2DA974B818F0F073

 

 

 

 Some essential oils and their properties

Lavender: calms, soothes the nervous system and helps you sleep
Lemon:a natural antidepressant, soothes anxiety
Orange: Refreshes and relaxes
Basil: for headaches
Rosemary: stimulates mind and improves memory
Clove: against nasal congestion,  aphrodisiac

 

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Topmost photo by Irkata, public domain: http://pixabay.com/es/users/Irkata/