In the words of yesterday’s post, ba domp bom.  Wait, that’s not right.

It should be ba da ba da ba da ba da ba da.  Did that sound like a drum roll or more like a baseball heckler badly enunciating swing batter batter batter?  No matter either way, I’m totally going to knock this post out of the park.

Ba domp bom.

Okay, now that was right.

Today marks the culmination of three feats here on Midwestern Bite.  One, since it’s the last day of January, it’s my final January Blog a Day post.  The last day of the month also always means Foodie Pen Pals and the Chopped Challenge.  That’s number Two.  Three, it’s giant plastic rat day.

Rat 4 RW

I promised you a giant plastic rat and I am a woman of my word.

Let’s start with number Three.  Technically, it’s not my fault I now own a giant plastic rat.  It’s a well orchestrated combo of Supermom who invited me to go thrifting with her and John and Sherry of Young House Love fame who dared us to go thrifting in the first place.

The challenge was to spend 20 bucks or less at the thrift store and score some fabulous finds, including but not limited to clothing with fringe, an all pink outfit, moccasins, a velour jumpsuit, house slippers, a brown leather jacket, a keyboard, a kneeboard, shoes with velcro, luggage, a plaid button up shirt, flannel zebra jammies, PJs with built-in socks, a telescope, and a big a$$ coat.

I interpreted that to mean giant plastic rat.  If I paint him pink he’ll have an all pink outfit.  It’s been decided, I am painting the rat pink.  Does that mean he is a she?  Update to come on this later.

Midwestern Rat RW

Here’s the loot that came home with me from Goodwill.  All together now.

Midwestern Thrift RW

All separate now.

Midwestern Thrift Numbered RW

1.  GLEE Valentines.  My bestest blogger friends will be receiving these and I am all kinds of happy.  I’ll be keeping the stickers, though, thank you very much.
2.  Large wooden shoe.  If I added some velcro to this It’d be challenge worthy but as it stands now it’s just humorous.  Supermom and I were sharing a cart at the good ol’ GW and I told her it was going in the cart and one of us was taking it home.  I was the lucky one.  I think it needs a good coat of spray paint to funkify it and them some good ol’ fashioned shelf sitting.
3.  Ice cube tray.  For homemade crayons.
4.  Curvy blue plate.  I was having buyers remorse about this one until I saw how pretty the trees were reflected in its surface.
5.  Hot plate aka cute little round surface for bloggable food.  For bloggable food.
6.  Cute little bloggable bowl.  For blogging.
7.  Solid cherry bowl.  After a trip to Hobby Lobby this will be turned into a clock for The Husband’s Man Cave.  Saweeeeeet.
8.  Yet another cute little bloggable bowl aka rat feeding trough.  What?  Rats have to eat too, even plastic ones.
9.  Giant plastic rat.  To be painted pink.  For funsies.  And because Supermom thought it was so ridiculous it made me want Ratsy all the more.  That’s his or her name by the way.  Ratsy.

That’s my take on the Young House Love thrift store challenge, completed in just seventeen dollars and thirty four cents.

Midwestern Thrift Cost RW

A bargain, really.  The only thing that has me concerned is I texted a few people about my giant rat purchase and no one seemed surprised.  Cinnamon went as far as to suggest it was “par for the course.”  Now, I don’t golf, but it would seem my friends actually expected me to buy the giant plastic rat.  Concerning.  I need to step up my game in the future.  Perhaps if I had brought home one of the duds instead.

Midwestern Thrift Duds RW

Nothing says sexy like used Victoria Secrets jammies.  Giant elephant statue anyone?  Would this have been better or worse than the giant rat?  Special prize for anyone who can tell me what the eff is in picture three.  I have no clue and it’s killing me.  The special prize might just be an insect repelling tablecloth in natural botanical fragrance.

Now that I’ve exhausted the Young House Love Challenge, let’s discuss feat numba Two, Foodie Pen Pals and the Chopped Challenge.

Midwestern Ice Cream 1 RW Chopped Red

If you’re new here feel free to peruse my Foodie Pen Pals page where I amaze you with my culinary masterpieces.  If you’re short on time, skip straight to Big Balls because it’s by far the funniest.

Foodie Pen Pals is a program started by The Lean Green Bean where you get paired up with others to send to and receive a fifteen dollar box of goodies.  I spin it and and use my entire FPP box to create one recipe or meal.  It’s pretty awesomesauce.

This month Jeanette sent me a Trader Joes bonanza complete with Pumpkin Butter, Cocoa Baton pillowy cookies, sweet chocolately coffee grinder, tea and two bags of plain straight up pasta.

Midwestern FPP Loot RW

FYI, from now on I am ignoring all tea in FPP boxes.  I’ve received tea in the last who knows how many and a challenger can only cook with tea so many times before it’s just not fun anymore.  And the Chopped Challenge is all about fun.  So the tea is reserved for drinking and drinking only.  Hopefully not anytime soon though, because I only drink tea when I’m sick.

The interesting thing about this box is it arrived rather late in the month.  As in Monday.  Late Monday.  The 28th.  For a post that needed to be planned, executed, photographed and written about for the 31st all while in the middle of a daily blogging challenge and the toddler tornado that is Sweetey Petey.  Yes, I finally understand the phrase toddler tornado.

I needed a plan.  A plan of attack devised before the box arrived and ready to be executed in the time I had available.  Coming down off a dessert high from a recipe of Nutella Ice Cream I found on Supermom’s blog, I decided on a whim over the weekend I was making ice cream.  No matter what was in the box, I was making ice cream.  Come tomato sauce or beef jerky or mushroom soup, I WAS MAKING ICE CREAM!

The ice cream maker was chilling in the freezer.  I had a half carton of whipping cream, a Nutella Ice Cream mustache and a dream.  A dream of Foodie Pen Pals Ice Cream.

Jeanette is a cupcake loving girl so I figured there’d be plenty of sweets in the box, but the pasta threw me for a temporary loop.  No matter.  I’d just make the ice cream and figure out the pasta later.

Since I’ve recently declared that CANNED PUMPKIN IS NOT SEASONAL and neither is my love of it, I think it’s fitting to present to you:

Midwestern Ice Cream Title RW

Pumpkin Butter Ice Cream

1 and ½ cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup skim milk *
½ cup whole milk *
½ cup sugar
½ cup TJ’s Pumpkin Butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup coarsely chopped Cocoa Baton cookies
Sugar, Chocolate and Coffee Bean Grinder for garnishing

* Feel free to sub in 1 and ½ cups of whatever kind of milk you have on hand

The Haps
This ice cream recipe is easy peasy.  In a large bowl stir together the sugar and pumpkin butter till combined.  Over medium low heat cook the heavy whipping cream and milk together till barely simmering.  Pour a half cup of the warm milk mixture over the pumpkin butter mixture and whisk till incorporated.  Add in the remainder of the milk mixture and the cinnamon.  Whisk, whisk, whisk.

Midwestern Ice Cream Cooked RW

Refrigerate till cooled or overnight.  Whisk once more and then pour into your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer recommendations.  Mine is electric and takes about a half hour.  Add in the chopped cookies at the very end and mix just till incorporated.  The ice cream will be soft serve consistency at first but will set up in the freezer.

Midwestern Ice Cream Soft Serve RW

Scoop into newly thrifted bowls, pose with a giant plastic rat so you can combine several challenges successfully in one blog post and garnish with a few turns of the Sugar, Chocolate and Coffee Bean Grinder.

Rat 2 RW

There you have it.  Creamy, stick to the roof of your mouthy, pumpkin piey, fudgy centered chocolate cookiey explosion homemade ice cream that will beat out most anything you can buy at the store.

Midwestern Ice Cream 3 RW

That does still leave the pasta that I stuck into the ice cream to make for a pretty, pretty picture though.  Turns out that dry Rigatoni pasta is more than decorative, it’s also quite practical.  You know the ice cream soup left in the bottom of the bowl?  Rigatoni makes an excellent straw.

Midwestern Pasta RW

I believe it’s time for a ba domp bom again.

Ba domp bom.

Today’s January Blog a Day challenge topic Favourite (yes, that is spelled correctly) is an easy one.  Foodie Pen Pals posts are my top blog hits!  It seems they are your favourite to read just as much as they are my favourite to write.  Also, Ratsy is my new favourite pet.

Rat 3 RW

If you saw what our Lab, The Destroyer, did to one of our interior doors the other day you’d understand this.

There you have it, Young House Love meets Foodie Pen Pals and the Chopped Challenge meets January Blog a Day.

Thanks to everyone who has been reading along with me!  It’s been a blast.  For the first time in a month, I will NOT be seeing you tomorrow.  Give me a few days to recuperate and I’ll be back Monday-ish.  In the meantime you can drown your sorrows in a bowl of Pumpkin Butter Ice Cream.

To catch up on my January Blog a Day posts:

Day 1: NEW

Day 2: TWO

Day 3: Bucket List

Day 4: Pet Peeves

Day 5: BIGGEST Fear

Day 6: Embarrassment

Day 7: SHOES

Day 8: Honesty

Day 9: Made with love

Day 10: Memory

Day 11: Confessions

Day 12: Recovery

Day 13: Top Ten!

Day 14: Food

Day 15: Transportation

Day 16: I would do anything for love . . . but I won’t do that

Day 17: Things that rhyme

Day 18: Advice

Day 19: Superpowers

Day 20: Beautiful

Day 21: Mood board, er salad. Definitely mood salad.

Day 22: Kids

Day 23: Dessert

Day 24: Teachers

Day 25: el oh vee ee

Day 26: Winter

Day 27: Regret

Day 28: A Surprise!

Day 29: Home

Day 30: Biggest Flaw


Say buh-bye Ratsy.

Rat 1 RW

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  Were you surprised I bought a giant plastic rat?  Are you going to miss me everyday?  Stroke a girl’s ego here, people.  Also, did you know The Husband is OBSESSED with Young House Love.  He searches any and all home repairs on their site before attempting it here.


  1. ummm … i had a rat like that for a while in college. college BF got it from his aunt and gave it to me at some point.

  2. The item #3 in question appears to be a countertop unit you may see in a store to display bracelets or watches.

    Of course, I am probably wrong!

  3. That rat is slightly terrifying 🙂 But Pumpkin Butter ice cream sounds so amazing, that totally makes up for it!

    • Maybe this would have made a good Halloween post? Not sure what holiday a PINK rat is good for ’cause I am totally spray painting that sucker when the weather warms up.

  4. That rat = whoa baby. I’m impressed at everything you combined into one post! Good thing you had a plan!! 🙂 Love your writing style; It’s pretty stinkin’ funny!!

  5. I love your FPP challenges – the Pumpkin Butter Ice Cream sounds gorgeous. I love the creative use of the coffee as a garnish, I bet it was probably pretty darn good actually – on New Years we created a Hot Jack Daniels Chocolate drink, adding a spoonful of coffee at the last hurdle, and it was delicious!
    I’m a Young House Love addict too – they seem like such lovely people! We have been debating their hallway artwork frames, but with black & photographs but haven’t quite agreed as yet.

    • It was good! Mike is obsessed with hanging curtains wider than the window like YHL recommends. Except he wants to do it in these tiny little areas and take the curtains all the way to the kitchen cabinets. :/

  6. Long time readers may remember Joanna talking about the terrifying (and freaking huge) peacock painting she used to hang in our bedroom. After too many nights of feeling its soulless eyes bore into me, she finally took it down.

    I won’t be surprised if she hangs the rat from the bedroom ceiling directly over my pillow or something.

    And for the record, the ice cream was delicious.


    (Sorry…got a little excited there.)

    Scott’s mom has a set. They are basically little plastic tube lights that slowly fade in and out of various colors. You can remove them fromt the platform and spread them around your room for added ambiance, or leave them all on the platform for a dramatic effect.

    I’m not exactly sure what their official name is, but Scott’s refers to his mom’s set as “the oscillating dildos”.

    • Really glad you said that first. Joanna gets mad if I don’t filter myself on her blog. That’s why I like commenting on yours. 🙂

    • Ha! My first thought was “sex toy” and I then I thought long and hard (doh!) before touching them. Sigh. That sounded terrible. I’m glad to finally know what they are! Maybe I should have picked them up. Our house is fairly ambiance free and the rat didn’t help matters any.

  8. I love what you did with the pasta in that dish. It looks so comical, but so pretty at the same time!

  9. Ha! I guess I just figured that if you were buying a giant plastic rat you would have a good reason. And I was very excited to see it on the blog so thank you for not disappointing. Item #3 is quite astounding, although I already saw what Katrina said that it was, I would have guessed it was some sort of mold or something. That is if each of the, ahem, “cylinders” was hollow.
    That rat is pretty intense. Is Ratsy its official name? I like his drool, it really adds something special.

  10. Now I want a pink rat. hehe.

    I love your box and want a chocolate/coffee grinder and to get my ice cream maker out!

    • I was pretty excited to get the grinder. I sent it to one of my FPP’s last year and really wanted to try it. Somehow it’s zero calories too. Not sure how that’s possible :/ Pink rats for everyone!

      • I think it’s the same rationale as to how the baking sprays can be 0 calories/etc. Basically, it’s such a small amount that they can’t accurately put it on the label, but if you start using more than whatever it says, you start to get calories/etc.

  11. The rat…a bit scary…but maybe not completely out of the question for you to have? I want to see it in pink.

  12. Haha, this made me laugh!! Love your humor, and can’t wait to come back and see in the HELL you managed to blog every day in January with the toddler tornado at your feet. Baffled in Boston! Happy FFP Reveal day! (My first 🙂 )

  13. Hilarious! I love the way you use all the ingredients. While I will never go so far as to actually do what you do, I may look at my Pen Pals box with new eyes LOL. And what is it with the tea? I finally had to specifically ask to not be sent tea because I was getting it in every box and I only drink tea very occasionally.

  14. The rat is awesome. After painting it pink and adding pearls, you should take it traveling with you for photos. Think Travelocity traveling gnome. Just think of all the fun.. 🙂

    The pumpkin butter ice cream looks really good. I have a jar in my refrigerator as we speak. Maybe, it was destined for ice cream too.

    Thank you so much for visiting my Foddie Pen Pals post at Our Little Family Adventure. I appreciate the link love.

    • Maybe I can convince our son it’s a stuffed animal? Then I’ll have a legitimate reason for carting the thing around 😉 I would highly recommend the ice cream, it was soooooo freaking good. The Nutella ice cream was good too so I highly recommend it as well.

  15. That icecream looks amaaaaaaazing!

  16. Congrats on finishing blog a day! Totally enjoyed following along. And as for the rat, I’ll just say, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

  17. I think the pink would complement the rat fangs nicely. I’m confused about what’s coming out of his face though…drool?

    Also, you’re a genius for picking up bloggy bowls! I never think of that stuff, so my readers have to deal with our boring white-with-a-black-swoosh-design dishes from Target. Maybe I should have done the YHL challenge after all. DANG.

    TJ’s pumpkin butter whaaaaat?? Never tried it–need to.

    Have a great weekend!

  18. Love TJ’s pumpkin butter, pumpkin butter ice cream sounds so good! The rat kinda freaks me out!

  19. Okay, so that rat seriously startled me for a second…maybe if it were wearing pink? Hahahaha

    I’m truly grateful for this blog-a-day challenge, because (as you may have guessed), that’s how I discovered your blog! I LOVE your sense of humor! 🙂

  20. I believe item #3 is a boot drying rack. Depending on the actual size, it could be for adult, toddler or dog boots 🙂

  21. Pingback: Playing it Safe

  22. Pingback: Foodie Pen Pals Peppermint Coconut Brownies Part 2

  23. Pingback: Thrift Gift Facelifted Scrap Paper Whale Art

  24. Pingback: Snaptacular Weekend Part Nine

  25. Pingback: Soda Sauce - Foodie Pen Pals and the Chopped Challenge

  26. Pingback: Thrift Gift Facelift - One Clock, Two Upcycled Projects