Homemade Whipped Cream

Homemade whipped cream and I… we’re tight. We’ve been friends for about a year now, and even though I know it’s not good for me, I can’t quite get away. Oh sure, I could if I really wanted to, but honestly? I don’t. Homemade whipped cream is delicious. Indulgent. Creamy. AND, the best part? It’s super simple to make.

The biggest issue I’ve had so far is finding and appropriate size bowl to make it in. Too small, and the whipped cream flies everywhere. Too big, and you can’t really get in there to whip it up properly.

Until a close family friend – and I feel it’s important I mention they’re Irish immigrants, because we’re also Irish, and we love all the true Irish customs they bring to our celebrations (brown bread, anyone?) – she recommended a tip. And guess what? It worked. And now, I will share that tip with you!

So here we go!

RECIPE:
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream*
2 Tablespoon Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
*Note: Be sure it’s heavy whipping cream, not just “whipping cream”.

Measure 1 cup of the Heavy cream into a 2 cup glass Pyrex measuring cup. (This is the tip our family friend taught me!) Add the vanilla.

Using a hand mixer on low, whip for 1-2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar. (You can add 1 tablespoon if you’d prefer it less sweet.) If you have the powdered sugar pre-measured, you can add it while you whip. If necessary, you can stop the mixer to add the powdered sugar and then start it again. Increase the speed and whip until it’s thick and forms peaks.

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That’s it! You’re done!

Some of my favorite ways to enjoy homemade whipped cream?
– Pie topping (Pumpkin or Chocolate Peppermint Pie, for example)
– On your coffee (Especially this Peppermint Mocha)
– As a brownie topping (try these Guilt-free Black Bean Brownies)
– A lighter dessert of strawberries & whipped cream

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Quick Tip – Easy Lint removal

We have a front-loading clothes dryer, and the lint trap is on the top of our machine. I quickly learned that every time I removed it to empty the lint, I got a dusty mess all over the top of my dryer. This mess is also difficult to get up because a dry paper towel or cloth just pushes it around and it ends up on the floor. A wet wipe or cloth does pretty much the same thing, except it forces the lint particles together into a condensed mess. A Swiffer duster works fine, but I don’t like the idea of wasting a duster sheet every day just on lint. (They’re a little pricey, even when you are couponing!)

One day, by accident, I found a solution!

Using a dried out baby wipe, I wiped over the surface of the dryer and… voila! All the lint stuck to the dry wipe and I had a clean dryer.

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You see? Baby wipes really are good for everything!

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Quick Tip – Introducing Vegetables to Kids (Or, how to get them to eat healthier!)

I unconsciously developed this, shall we say, method for introducing new foods to my kids, particularly vegetables. If you know me you know that I try my best to make healthy meals for my family, but I am not an extreme health nut. I like to try to strike a balance. “Everything in moderation” as my mom always says.

So whenever I’m introducing something new to my young kids, I give myself a little leeway in the health department. I’ll choose a preparation that I think they will like, even if it’s not the healthiest. For example, a recipe that uses butter or cheese. Or maybe BBQ sauce. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF A DIPPING SAUCE to get kids to eat, well, just about anything!

Then once I establish it as a friendly food that they enjoy, I will put it in a soup, or a sauce, or mix it into a pasta, and then try healthier cooking preparations. My 5 year old regularly asks, “What’s in this Mom?” I stopped trying to hide things from her a long time ago. She was too smart for that. So at this point I’ll say, “Zucchini! Remember how much you liked zucchini last week?” Usually the response is, “Oh yeah! Yum!”

One other tip: let the kids be around you while you’re prepping a meal. Even better yet, let them help in whatever way is safe and doesn’t make an enormous mess. This is how I learned which raw veggies my kids will eat (Aubrey loves broccoli, Brendan loves bell peppers and tomatoes, Camille loves tomatoes). Once they’re old enough, you can also include them in the actual planning part. Give them some pre-approved dinner or side options and let them choose. The more they feel they’ve contributed, the more they’ll take ownership and be willing to try things.

You can follow my blog to see some different ways I’ve done this and adapt them to your family. Good luck! Have fun experimenting!!

Quick Tip: “Multiple Meal” opportunities

One of the things I’ve learned to do to save myself time and money is to re-purpose a grocery item for more than one meal. I almost always buy family packs of meat and break it into 2-3 dinners. Most times I’ll even take leftovers from those dinners and make an entirely different meal. I suppose if I had a motto in the kitchen, it would be, “Use what you have”. And along with that, “Save everything!” (until it goes bad of course) You never know what could come in handy!

So when I am meal planning and grocery shopping for the week, I always ask myself if I can re-purpose either the leftovers, or the other half of the protein that I don’t use. Actually, more often than not I do plan my meals with leftovers in mind. That’s what I call a “First Meal”: one in which you purposefully make more than enough, with a plan to use the leftovers for another meal – whether that be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a side.

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Quick Tip of the Day: Cutting boards

After we got married, I discovered I had 2 different cutting boards from showers. One was wood and the other was … synthetic plastic? Actually I’m not sure what the actual material is. You probably would if you saw it 🙂 I thought to myself, why would anyone need more than one? The only thing I NEVER did was put raw meat on the wood one, because I figured the juices would Get absorbed into the board and,  Hellooo, sanitation nightmare!

Fast forward a few years. I believe I was watching Alton Brown’s show “Good Eats” when he talked about having separate cutting boards for separate uses. One should be designated ONLY for raw meats, and another for produce. What a great idea! So now I had a designated purpose for each of my cutting boards.
But then I realized if I was only cutting up a few strawberries or an apple, it was super inconvenient to have to wash my huge wood board.  So I went and bought a small one for cutting fruit and designated my large wood one for veggies. Bonus: my strawberries no longer taste like onion 😉

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Quick Tip of the Day – Prepping Ahead

Have you ever suddenly found yourself with free time? I know it doesn’t happen often if you have kids. But every once in awhile my youngest two will nap at the same time my eldest is at school, or she will ask to play on the computer while they’re napping… And have you ever felt panicked by this? “What should I be doing right now?! Should I finish the laundry, empty the dishwasher, sleep, shower, exercise, AHHHH!!!!” And then I have to admit… sometimes I start 3 of those things and get none of them finished because my brain keeps reminding me of things that need to get done. Been there? (I hope I’m not alone!)

One of the benefits of meal planning is that visualizing all your meals will help you see what has to be prepped pretty far in advance. So when you have those random pops of time, you will know exactly what has to get done.

For example, on school days the kids usually have waffles or cereal for breakfast. Tomorrow I’m giving them crepes for lunch though, so I’d prefer they have protein for breakfast. When I had a few free minutes, I beat the eggs, milk, parmesan, and S&P in a Tupperware and put it in the fridge. Now all I have to do in the morning is spray and heat the pan and pour the eggs in the pan.
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Another way I’ll maximize my time is by prepping more than necessary for the meal at hand. For example: I needed some chopped peppers for the pasta I made the other night. But since I had them out, I cut ALL of them into strips and again, into the Tupperware they went. (by the way, the ABC check keeps capitalizing Tupperware. I don’t use ACTUAL brand ‘Tupperware’. Just thought you should know. 😉 ) Brendan loves raw peppers (hooray!) so now they are ready for snacking or for a side with lunch. AND they are easier to chop up next time I need them in a recipe.
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See? A little thought goes a long way into saving time!

Quick Tip of the day

Quick tip for today is,

Eat potato skins with buffalo sauce!!!

Every Monday at the restaurant is $.50 potato skins. Guess what most of us employees eat? You got it. And plain potato skins, no matter how delicious, get old pretty quick when you’re eating them every week. We’ve tried many different things to spruce them up… Extra cheese. Pico de gallo instead of plain diced tomatoes. Tabasco sauce. SRIRACHA! Until! One period where I was just on a buffalo sauce kick. I wanted it on everything… wraps, meat, chicken, pork, scrambled eggs – whatever I was eating I was craving buffalo (and no, I am NOT/was NOT pregnant. Sorry father-in-law 😉 . And suddenly I thought, why not? I tried it and… it was GLORIOUS. Alright, I’m going to take a little credit here, but pretty much all the employees order their potato skins with a side of buffalo sauce now. And when you combine the buffalo sauce with some sour cream… It’s fried cheesy-bacon-salty-creamy-spicy heaven on a plate.

There. Now go try it for yourself. You’re welcome 😉