I think the theme of my summer is biking.
I have always loved it, especially after a year in the Netherlands, getting around on my fiets (pronounced “feets”…as in “you pedal with your feets”). This year, biking has been my go-to exercise and pastime.
It helps that weather has been wonderful all summer — sunny and warm but not scorching. It also helps that new episodes of my favorite podcasts push me out the door and on the bike. I love listening to This American Life and Good Job Brain.
Two weeks ago, I completed my longest bike ride — 50 miles!
RAGBRAI rode straight through Des Moines this year so I pushed myself to train for the leg from Perry to Des Moines. We cancelled our gym membership in May so my RAGBRAI training plan helped me commit to exercising regularly.
I loved the ride so much. I picked an easy pace that brought me to my destination in about 4 hours. I chatted with friendly folks, passed some people, and got passed by many more. I loved the cheering and free stuff handed out — a free carton of chocolate milk totally hit the spot at hour 2.
I loved my support driver as well — he helped me through all the training, convinced me to get padded bike shorts (needed, but slightly awkward), and brought me to Perry bright and early on a Tuesday morning.
Now I’m tempted to do the loop on the trail that passes through Adel. It’s a nice 72 mile loop — from Adel, to Waukee, Perry, Herndon, Panora, Redfield, and back to Adel. I’ll see if my legs (and butt) can handle it!
If I could choose a second summer theme, it would be ice cream. ICE CREAM!
Soft-serve, frozen custard, Dilly bars, and homemade ice cream are my summer loves.
Homemade ice cream is really easy with this Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. (<– affiliate link!) Follow my tips, closely follow the directions, and you can make Buckeye State Ice Cream — which tastes just like the rich, chocolate-peanut butter, candies.
The recipe comes from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. I’ve loved other recipes from Jeni like Black Coffee Ice Cream and Queen City Cayenne — which I re-created with my Chocolate Banana Ice Cream with a Kick.
The key flavors in this recipe: peanut butter, chocolate, and honey.
Here are the rest of the ingredients. Cream cheese and a cornstarch slurry are the uncommon additions that make Jeni’s ice creams really rich, soft, and almost chewy — in a good way, I promise.
Buckeye State Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (less if using saltier peanut butter)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons honey
4 ounces chocolate (55% to 70% cocoa), chopped
Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.
Whisk the cream cheese, peanut butter, and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.
Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and honey in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath.
Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and begin to spin the ice cream.
Melt the chocolate in a double broiler.
Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. When the ice cream is thick and creamy and almost finished, drizzle the melted chocolate slowly through the opening in the top of the ice cream machine and allow it to solidify and break up in the ice cream for about 2 minutes.
Serve immediately for soft-serve consistency or freeze for two hours before serving.
If you have an ice cream machine, you must try this! It is so rich and flavorful.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, put it on your Christmas/birthday/Labor Day wish list. 🙂
Have a great rest of the week!
What’s the theme of your summer?