It’s Out Of The Box!

Yep! I finally opened it. I received a huge box about a week ago from Amazon and this afternoon I finally opened it.

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You might be wondering why it took me so long. How could I wait for nearly an entire week before opening this very big, super heavy box? Wasn’t the suspense killing me? Didn’t I want to rip it open, pull out its contents, and find out what was waiting for me? Well, sort of.

Yes, I did order it.

Yes, I knew what was inside.

Yes, I have wanted it for a very long time.

Yes, when Hubby finally told me to order it I jumped all over it and did it that night.

Yes, I could hardly wait to hit that “Purchase” button.

Yes, I tracked the shipment from the moment I hit “Purchase” until the day it was to arrive.

Then reality hit.

What if this wasn’t something I would really use?

What if it came in and wasn’t all I’d hoped for?

What if I’d just wasted more money on a truly nonessential than I’d ever done before?

Buyer’s remorse?

I’m not really sure. All I know is by not opening the box I was in a wonderful state of denial that was only disrupted slightly every time I passed by the unopened box sitting in the foyer.

This afternoon however I finally mustered up enough courage, curiosity, whatever you want to call it, to finally open the box and then open the box that was in the box, and finally open the box that was in the box that was in the box and pull the most expensive kitchen gadget I have ever owned.

Coming to the decision to purchase this did not come easy. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. I blame television for this. Specifically the food channels. Watching cooks enjoy the convenience offered by all the wonderful gadgets their gourmet kitchens are stocked with, is bound to cause me to have a certain amount of kitchen-envy. And when I shared my desire to have one such convenience in our kitchen, Hubby told me to order it.

Well now, this was before he had any idea how much something like this cost. Hesitantly, almost in a whisper, I told him this was not an inexpensive little investment. No, this was not a purchase to be taken lightly. It was one that would require more than $10 – $15 for say a whisk or $100 for an induction burner or even $150 for a really big microwave. This would take close to $300 and honestly it is not a necessity — it’s a dream, an indulgence, a toy.

Sure there were more expensive ones. A professional model could cost anywhere from $1000 to $1500, but then where would I put such a monstrosity. The trouble was that there were cheaper models for say $30 – $70, but then they wouldn’t have the cool features that made this gadget the indulgence I so wanted.

Sheepishly I told Hubby the price. He didn’t even flinch. He said, “Buy it.” Then he added, “Or I’ll buy it for you.”

Wow! That was a surprise. It probably shouldn’t have been because he would certainly reap the rewards of this indulgence, and he knew it. Still, who in their right mind would spend this amount of money on such a luxury?

Me I guess!

So this afternoon, while Hubby was out of the house (why I waited until he was gone I have no idea because he was the one who told me to order it) I slit the tape open on the box and opened it. Peering inside, what did I see — another brown box staring at me. (Too many years of reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you see!)

I cut the tape on that box and opened it, only to find yet another box inside. This box though was different, it was the box for what I’d ordered. I flipped open the tab on the side of the box and Grace helped me lift out my brand new, never before seen in this house, stainless steel, 2.1 quart self-contained frozen dessert maker that does not require pre-freezing with extended cooling function and high-efficiency compressor.

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In other words — I bought an ice cream maker! An ice cream maker with a built-in freezer! 32 pounds of stainless steel.

This isn’t just any ice cream maker though. This one is pretty much a set-it-and-forget-it type ice cream maker. No ice to worry about, no salt, no cranking. None of that for me. I just mix the ingredients, let cool if necessary, put in the removable bowl and press start. In sixty minutes or less I have up to 2.1 quarts of homemade, from scratch ice cream, sherbet, gelato, ices, sorbet, or even drinks.

Seems like a lot of fuss over an ice cream maker, but making homemade ice cream with any other type of machine seems like a whole lot more time and effort than I have to give. The one we bought should cut the time necessary making it in half.  Okay, so absolutely not a necessity, but how nice it will be to serve fresh, homemade ice cream to the family far more often. Plus, won’t guests be surprised when I serve them hot from the ice cream maker desserts (or rather cold from the ice cream maker desserts).

Of course, once out of the box yet another dilemma confronted me. What should I make first? Something rich and decadent? Something quick and simple? Something, anything…please!

Well, my initial plan was to make the ice cream mixture first thing in the morning and then freezing it in the ice cream maker just before dinner. This was out because it was already past three o’clock. So, I did the next best thing and whipped up a batch of vanilla bean custard base and will freeze it tomorrow afternoon right before dinner. Hubby has already had his hands/fingers in the custard base and can’t wait until tomorrow!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream — and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

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A Sweet Indulgence

As of late, one thing I have decided is there are just some things in the kitchen that should not be skimped on and my grocery bills have reflected it. Not that I’ve gone out and bought the most expensive everything and anything, but each trip to the supermarket, or maybe more like every other trip or every third trip, I pull out a list of what I consider “sweet indulgence” ingredients and buy something from the list — especially if I happen upon a sale.

Not everything on the list is expensive. Some items are just ingredients that I would not use very often, making it hard to justify purchasing them. Others are a bit on the pricey side but there are some ingredients you should NEVER buy imitation or knockoff’s of, it’s worth spending the extra money.

The other day while picking up a few items at a specialty fruit market (someplace I don’t usually go unless there is a sale of some sort), Hubby and I found a sale on mascarpone cheese. This cheese is best known for its use in tiramisu, but is a wonderful addition to many other rich desserts. A container that would normally be anywhere from $6.50 to $8.00, was marked $3.50 and the expiration date was not until the end of May. What a find! I picked up two containers knowing I would find a use for them.

Some nights I go all out on dessert for the family and spend half the day working on something special. Other nights they are lucky if they can find packaged cookies buried in the freezer. A day or so after finding the deal on the mascarpone cheese in between putting the finishing touches on dinner and serving it, I whipped up a mascarpone cream and soaked some fresh fruit in sweetened Marsala wine. Talk about a rich, decadent dessert!

Although this particular dessert was not something Grace could enjoy with her sensitivity to dairy, Hubby and Zeb devoured the custard bowls filled with the fruit and cream combo. If you’d like to see how I made it, check out my post on Simply Grateful Cooking for Mascarpone Cream with Sweetened Marsala Berries.

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This dessert could probably be made with a less expensive cheese such as ricotta, but the rich, smooth mascarpone, albeit typically pricey, made this dessert “company worthy,” and for this sweet indulgence I am — Simply Grateful.