Non-fried, fried ice cream

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Just in time for Cinco de Mayo!! I first had fried ice cream at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Tampa, FL decades ago and have never forgotten it. Seriously, I still crave it. It was heaven! Soft vanilla ice cream tucked inside a fried shell, topped with cinnamon and drizzled honey – yum!

I’m not going to fry ice cream at home because, well, what a mess. And I don’t own a deep fryer, nor will I in the name of healthier cooking. ūüėČ

With simple ingredients it takes only a couple of minutes to assemble, yet boasts all the flavors of fried ice cream (and less fat since it’s not fried) whose taste has lingered in my mind ever since.

A few cooking notes…

Honey – Honey is the star of this show. As it drizzles over frozen ice cream, the cold turns liquid honey into a slightly chewy topping which resembles caramel, but a natural, healthy option. Its sweetness compliments the warm bite of cinnamon. Mmmm. I use local honey for the benefits of combating seasonal allergies. During covid quarantine I cannot get my regular, local honey so I found Local Hive Honey and it’s awesome! Whatever brand you use, make sure it’s raw, unfiltered, 100% honey. Otherwise, generic honey can have sugar in it although not listed in the ingredients because it’s considered a processing ingredient. What a sham! So don’t chince on the quality of your honey. You CAN taste the difference and your seasonal allergies will thank you.

Whipped cream – Use spray whipped cream (with real cream, not whipped oil), tub whipped cream (again, real cream, not whipped oil) or what I use, tub Tru-Whip (no oil, made with tapioca, a healthier, tasty substitute).

Ginger Snaps – The fried shell is replaced with ginger snap cookies. That’s the secret weapon. Leave them whole or crush on top, there’s no wrong way to enjoy this treat. And the cookie matters! Our favorite brand is Murray Ginger Snaps which is affordable and has that great *snap* we all want in a gingersnap. We don’t even use a spoon for this dessert. Use the cookies to scoop the ice cream…even better!! ūüėČ


Vanilla ice cream

Ginger snap cookies



Whipped cream


Scoop ice cream into bowls

Sprinkle cinnamon generously over ice cream

Drizzle honey over ice cream

Add ginger snaps

Top with whipped cream

This is the perfect dessert to top your favorite Mexican meal or enjoy it by itself. Have fun with it!




Culinary Quest #19 – OREO Truffles, non-refrigerated


There are a million OREO truffle recipes online. The maddening thing is, they are all the same! That recipe calls for mixing OREO cookies with cream cheese.

The problem is, because the truffles aren’t baked they need to be refrigerated due to the cream cheese.

Our family coordinates a huge bake sale every Christmas. I’ve always wanted to add OREO¬†truffles to the truffle selection we already offer, but I can’t in good conscious offer an item to the general public that needs refrigeration. We don’t want anyone getting sick on our watch. Yikes!

So this year, I tackled making up my own OREO truffle recipe that needs no refrigeration. This is so good (and easy) I wish I had tried it years ago.

I’m posting this recipe for everyone who has also been looking for OREO truffle that doesn’t need refrigeration. I’ve read so many comments and threads stressing concern over the cream cheese, I hope this will be helpful.

I included a photo, but will preface it by saying I literally whipped these together simply as a test recipe. It’s not my best-looking performance, but wow do they taste heavenly!

OREO Truffles, non-refrigerated


1 – 14oz pkg OREO original cookies (I don’t recommend generic brands as they are softer than the OREO brand)

1 can vanilla or cream cheese frosting (Cream cheese-flavored frosting does not actually contain cream cheese so these truffles do not need to be refrigerated.)

1t vanilla

2 pkgs marshmallow Candy Melts (If marshmallow melts aren’t available, use “white” melts which are vanilla flavored or almond bark.)


  1. Crush OREO cookies till pulverized (I use a food processor). Save back about 1/4c.
  2. In mixing bowl, combine crushed OREO cookies, frosting and vanilla. Mix until blended (I use my hands).
  3. Shape into balls and place on parchment paper. (No chilling for firmness required!)
  4. Melt Candy Melts according to directions on the bag, one bag at a time.
  5. Dip the OREO balls into the melted marshmallow melts.
  6. Extract them from the melted melts by using a small spoon. The filling gets soft with the hot melts so it slides through a fork.
  7. Immediately sprinkle a little of the reserved crushed OREO cookies on top of each one as you go before the coating hardens OR using melted chocolate, drizzle on top.

Thanksgiving Traditions

If your home looks like mine, colorful fall leaves have found their way to every room of the house, my one annual, frivolous expense, a yummy smelling pumpkin spice candle is more than half-way used up by now, and the hall closet has been ransacked by kids hurrying to find a jacket to take to school on unexpectedly chilly mornings.  I love it!

With Thanksgiving next week, I am scouring Pinterest and my familiar cookbooks to decide what to make for “the dinner.” ¬†We share this holiday with extended family, and it’s just so fun to have everyone bring their family’s favorite dishes to share.

One dish that represents our clan is pie. ¬†No, I’m not a great pie maker. ¬†I’m not sure I’m even a good pie maker, but the story behind this pie is what has made it a family tradition.

Several years ago, I was in the kitchen, with the other women folk in the family, and we were cooking up a storm.  Every burner was hot, the oven was roasting, and every last inch of counter space filled was with cutting boards, knives, vegetables Рyou name it.  I was totally in my element.

In the background, the Macy’s Day Parade played with my husband and kids narrating every float so I could run into the family room to see our favorites. ¬†The sun was bright, the air crisp, and Thanksgiving smells filled every room.

While I was busy chopping, dicing and slicing, my firstborn, barely double-digits, walked into the kitchen.  He came over to me and said, Can we bake something?

Um, huh? I thought as the menu was set and every minute leading up to the glutton-fest was allocated for demanding recipes already in progress.

A bit confused, I asked him, Like what, Honey?

I was thinking pie.

Pie? I asked. ¬†I don’t really know how to make a good pie.

I’m sure we can find a recipe, or just make one up, he insisted.

Hmm. ¬†I’m not sure we even have the ingredients and the grocery store is closed now, I answered while stirring pots and checking oven thermometers and¬†whisking¬†and blending and chopping.

I love to cook with my kids.  But, now?  It had to be right now?  I was obviously a little busy at the moment.

How about an apple pie? he suggested.

Welll, um, I began. ¬†At that moment, my mommy’s eyes caught his¬†gorgeous¬†hazel eyes and I saw the sincerity in his request. ¬†He wasn’t asking to make more food to eat. ¬†He was asking to be a part of what I was doing. ¬†He wanted time with me. ¬†He wanted to do something special with me on Thanksgiving.

I gazed at his tenderness and saw just how young he still was, and the longer I looked at him, the more I realized my children won’t be little forever.

I put my cutting knife down, rested my hands on his shoulders, and said, You bet. ¬†Let’s bake an apple pie!

He got so excited, but I didn’t know where to begin. ¬†Putting everything on simmer, I¬†abandoned¬†my cooking projects for time with my son.

We combed through The Joy of Cooking cookbook and found a basic pie crust recipe.  Everything we made had to be scratch because stores were closed.  I am so glad they were, because otherwise I never would have know what an awesome pastry crust maker my son is!  He kneads that dough until you can almost see your reflection!  I am way too impatient to stand there and work it, but he loves it.

We found 2 apples, but a decent pie really needs at least 4, so we found out in our quest.  Thinking hard for something else we could add, I remembered my mother-in-law made a grape pie once that was really good!  I never would have thought of using grapes in a cooked pie, but it was delicious.

My son foraged through the refrigerator and sure enough we had exactly 2 cups of grapes. Perfect.

We assembled the apple & grape pie, and with a little leftover pastry dough we cut out a single turkey shape using a cookie cutter and placed it on top of the crust.

The Great Turkey Pie was born!

Not only was it delicious, but we had the time of our lives making it together.

Holidays can quickly become a nightmare when the stress of expectations steals our joy and the true meaning of the season is buried under futile projects (many of them self-imposed). ¬†For that Thanksgiving, and every one since, I am truly thankful I have children who want to be with me, do fun things together, and aren’t afraid to ask and not assume Mom is too busy.

I never want to be too busy for my kids – especially on the holidays.

Every year when my son and I make this special pie together, it is time I so look forward to, because he’s getting older. ¬†I want to make life promise me that he and I will always make this pie together, perhaps even with his children helping us one day, but life won’t make that promise.

What I do have is this Thanksgiving, Lord willing. ¬†Whatever else is swirling around on the holidays, The Great Turkey Pie is my reminder to love, cherish and enjoy my family right now. ¬†Here’s the irony – I have no idea what all of the other food I made was now! ¬†All that hard work with no memory now whatsoever! ¬†The perfect turkey or impressive side dishes, cute homemade place cards or a¬†magazine-worthy table setting doesn’t come near to equating making memories with my family.

Yeah, I’d love to have a table and trimmings that look like something out of Pottery Barn or Sur La Table. ¬†But, I’ll take¬†committing¬†to fewer bells and whistles in order to have more of myself to give my family.

More than a gourmet meal, my son wanted to spend time with me. ¬†Me! ¬†A regular wife and mom who constantly questions whether she’s getting this parenting thing right. ¬†His desire for my attention told me how much he loved me, and stopping my agenda to be with him told him the same. ¬†Fun times now. ¬†Cherished memories tomorrow. ¬†I am blessed. ¬†I am thankful.

Culinary Quest #9 – Twisted Blueberry Peach Cobbler

Summer cobbler is so yummy! Apples and cinnamon work in cooler weather, but bring on peaches and blueberries for stokin’ hot temps. Below is our twist on an old-fashioned favorite. The lime gives it a surprise we hope you enjoy. The crunchy top has a granola texture that stays crisp with every bite. Happy summer!

Fruit filling:
4c fresh blueberries

8 medium peaches

1/4c granular sugar

1/2t cardamom

1t vanilla

1t lime juice

1t lime zest

2t corn starch


Crumble topping:

2c flour

1/4c granular sugar

1/2t baking powder1/4t cardamom1/4t salt

¬Ĺ stick butter

2 eggs



1T. honey


In a mixing bowl, combine all fruit filling ingredients and toss well. Pour into baking dish (9×13 or equivalent).

In another mixing bowl, combine all crumble topping ingredients. Mix with electric mixer until well mixed and uniform.

Evenly distribute cobbler topping over the fruit mixture.

Drizzle with honey.

Bake for 30 minutes or until topping is brown and fruit is soft and bubbly.

Fruit filling

Ready to bake…

Culinary Quest #1 – Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

Yeah! ¬†It’s Saturday! ¬†A day for exhaling, maybe sleeping in a little, no make-up, running shoes, and hopefully doing something you really enjoy amid projects and work. ¬†Two things I enjoy are baking and cooking – depending on if my mood is sweet or savory or both!

I was in the grocery store yesterday and a huge display of strawberries caught my eye and smelled so good. ¬†It’s great when produce hits its peak season because the price drops!

Every spring, my family looks forward to a special treat – homemade strawberry shortcake trifle. ¬†I just couldn’t resist those small, red juicy treats begging me to take them home yesterday, so trifle here we come! ¬†Thought I’d share our version of this classic spring & summer dessert:

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle (serves about 12)

5           quarts of strawberries; washed, de-stemmed & cut in half (reserve the biggest, best berry uncut w/stem)

3/4c    sugar

3T        flour or cornstarch

1           angel food cake or individual sponge cakes

12oz   whipped topping


Directions for the sauce:

Place 2 quarts of berries in a sauce pot, covered, on low/med heat until they begin to boil. Stir occasionally.

Once they begin to boil, turn heat to low, remove lid, and cook until they have thickened a bit.

Remove from heat and beat the flour or cornstarch into the cooked berries with an electric mixer until smooth.

Put the sauce pot back on low heat and cook until thick. Stir occasionally.

Pour into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until cold (at least an hour).


Cut the angel food cake (or sponge cakes) into cubes.

Layer 1/3 of the cake in the bottom of a trifle bowl or large clear serving bowl.

Pour 1/2 of the sauce over the cake.

Add 1/2 of remaining fresh, halved strawberries.

Add 6oz of whipped topping in large dollops.

Repeat layers, finishing with whipped topping.

Taking the whole, reserved berry, cut the berry in slices – not all the way through – just to the stem. ¬†Fan the berry’s slices on top.

The sauce is also great on pancakes, waffles, over ice cream, etc.  Frozen strawberries can be used for the sauce if fresh is not available.  Other berries can be substituted.

Have a sweet day!