The hot, hazy days of August call for cold refreshment, great beach reads, and a bit of back-to-school inspiration. The latest edition of Favorite Things covers it all!
If you’ve followed the Fountain Avenue Kitchen over time, there are two things you may know about me. I love trivia…and ice cream!
As such, an Instacart analysis* of favorite ice creams by state caught my attention.
Interestingly, the favorite flavor by a wide margin in every state is actually vanilla (it accounts for over 26% of all ice cream sales). So, Instacart dug a little deeper. In other words, they took vanilla out of the survey!
The question is, do you agree with your neighbors?
Favorite ice cream by state:
- Alabama – Moose Tracks
- Alaska – Green Tea
- Arizona – Rocky Road
- Arkansas – Rainbow Sherbet
- California – Rocky Road
- Colorado – Green Tea
- Connecticut – Pistachio
- Delaware – Cherry
- Florida – Rum Raisin
- Georgia – Rum Raisin
- Hawaii – Mango
- Idaho – Green Tea
- Illinois – Moose Tracks
- Indiana – Moose Tracks
- Iowa – Moose Tracks
- Kansas – Rainbow Sherbet
- Kentucky – Chocolate Chip
- Louisiana – Birthday Cake
- Maine – Coffee
- Maryland – Cookie Dough
- Massachusetts – Coffee
- Michigan – Moose Tracks
- Minnesota – Moose Tracks
- Mississippi – Birthday Cake
- Missouri – Cookie Dough
- Montana – Rainbow Sherbet
- Nebraska – Moose Tracks
- Nevada – Rocky Road
- New Hampshire – Coffee
- New Jersey – Pistachio
- New Mexico – Chocolate Chocolate Chip
- New York – Pistachio
- North Carolina – Birthday Cake
- North Dakota – Moose Tracks
- Ohio – Chocolate Chip
- Oklahoma – Cookie Dough
- Oregon – Green Tea
- Pennsylvania – Mint Chip
- Rhode Island – Coffee
- South Carolina – Moose Tracks
- South Dakota – Birthday Cake
- Tennessee – Moose Tracks
- Texas – Rainbow Sherbet
- Utah – Rocky Road
- Vermont – Coffee
- Virginia – Birthday Cake
- Washington – Green Tea
- Washington, D.C. – Mango
- West Virginia – Moose Tracks
- Wisconsin – Moose Tracks
- Wyoming – Rocky Road
*Instacart determined the most popular ice cream flavors in America by measuring which flavor in each state, not including vanilla, has the highest relative share of all ice cream purchases compared to the national average.
🍦 Favorite New Treat
Do you enjoy ice cream but dairy doesn’t agree with you? I would venture to say these plant-based KIND Frozen Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars might become a new favorite. They taste a lot like a frozen Snickers™ bar, with a hint more ice cream than chewy caramel, and they are refreshingly delicious.
My family adores these bars. I’ve also mentioned the treat, which comes in a box of five, to several people since discovering them recently, and all became fast fans. (I’ve seen them in the Wegmans and Target freezer section, although I imagine they are available at many other grocery stores as well.)
⚙️💡 Favorite Gadget of the Month
The Name Stamp — I wish I had this clever gadget during the many years I labeled the kids’ camp clothes, school uniforms, sports equipment, lunchboxes, and gym clothes! Emily discovered (and uses) TheNameStamp, and the company will deliver the adorable personalized stamps right to your door. There are a variety of animal figures to choose among, and personalization includes a name as well as optional icons and designs.
To use, you simply open the animal and stamp directly on clothing, toys, books, or paper. The name appears clearly and is waterproof and washing-machine tested for over 50 washes. The ink lasts through thousands of stamps, and white strips are included for labeling on dark clothing. Great for parents, kids, and anyone looking for a fun, useful gift. Pricing starts at $20 for a personalized stamp, but there are discounts if multiple stamps are purchased.
🥤 Favorite Beverage of the Month
If you’re a fan of sparkling water, I think you will enjoy this recent addition to the grocery store lineup. My family discovered AHA Sparkling Water by accident when we stopped in a general store in New Hampshire after a hot hike over my older son’s graduation weekend. The fruit flavor in these drinks is bolder than other infused sparkling waters we have tried, yet the drink contains no sweeteners, calories, or sodium.
There are a range of flavors, and my favorites so far are Blueberry + Pomegranate and Lime + Watermelon. Select flavors (not those pictured above) contain 30mg of caffeine, so do pay attention to the label. The cans are clearly marked. Depending on where you shop, you may find 8-packs of 12-ounce cans or individual 16-ounce cans.
📚 Favorite Book of the Month
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid tells the story of four famous siblings over the course of one very memorable night. Though the book reads as light fiction, the storyline and characters are well developed and a variety of topical themes add relevance the book. As a reader, I found myself pulling for the main characters as they faced tragedy, heartbreak, financial hardship, and family secrets that could tear them apart. You won’t want to put this page-turner down, yet the underlying themes provide sufficient depth to make this a fun book club pick.
When I mentioned Malibu Rising to Emily, she said she enjoyed an earlier book by Reid titled Daisy Jones & the Six. Emily described it as a fun read that is told like an interview with various band members reflecting on the band they were all a part of in the 70s. Though a work of fiction, Emily added that it read like a true story.
As a reminder, if any of the books we mention sound intriguing, you can purchase them through Bookshop.org. The site sources from and gives a 10% profit back to independent bookstores. If you’d like to support a specific local bookstore, you can even find it on their map and the store will receive full profit. Emily set up the page, which now includes all past Favorite Things books, as well as those from our Summer Book Edition.
❝❞ Favorite Quote of the Month
“There’s integrity in saying ‘I dropped it’ instead of ‘It fell.’” Shared by my son, John, who heard it from an agent at his new job in LA, who was sharing his “five hard-and-fast rules for success.” Everyone messes up, and I like how this mantra stresses the importance taking responsibility in an active, rather than passive, way.
👩🍳 Reader Favorite Kitchen of the Month
Last month’s Favorite Things was a list of top picks from Trader Joe’s, and it didn’t include a favorite kitchen from the month. So, this month, I’m catching up! Of all the kitchens shared on my Facebook and Instagram page in June and July, these two garnered the most praise.
In the top photo, splashes of turquoise and retro appliances in the otherwise modern kitchen received high marks. In the kitchen below, one reader summed up the overwhelmingly glowing feedback with a description of “warm but not dark…bright, but not sterile.They did a great job!”
🍑🥒🍆🍅🥖 Favorite Recipes of the Month
- I’ve been in a delicious breakfast rut thanks to these overnight oats, which I overload with fruit–recently blueberries and chopped peaches. Before digging in, I stir in a tablespoon each of slivered almonds and granola (lately Chunky Homemade Granola) for crunch. I love that I can prep this meal in advance, it keeps me full for hours, and it tastes great!
- For lunch, I’ve been gravitating towards a variety of hearty salads, which I can scoop and enjoy whenever hungry. For ease, I tend to make enough for leftovers when preparing for dinner one night. When I don’t have something on hand (recents include Italian Hoagie Salad, Lentil Salad for all Seasons, Corn and Cucumber Salad, and Summer Breeze Chicken Salad–make extra of this easy marinated chicken for the latter), I blend a quick smoothie or pull together a quick avocado toast with an egg.
- Speedy Cherry Tomato Sauce and Crispy Baked Eggplant have been on the dinner menu recently. I like to combine the two and serve over pasta for a sort of Deconstructed Eggplant Parmesan. Because zucchini has been abundant in our garden, I’ve also made Zucchini Noodles in Rustic Tomato Sauce (so good with Parmesan Garlic Bread) as well as Zucchini Banana or Applesauce Bread, which happens to be grain-free and naturally sweetened.
- A refreshing cocktail hits the spot on a warm summer night, so I’ve also been mixing up the occasional Aperol Spritz. When serving a group, the spot-on taste of this Margarita recipe is always a hit, and people marvel at the mystery ingredient!
- And since we kicked off this edition of Favorite Things with ice cream, it seems only fitting to end with it! We love the occasional trip to local fixtures like The Sweet Shoppe and Pine View Dairy. For the at-home cold treat, we keep Turkey Hill in the freezer, and if my family has their way, a jar of Salted Hot Fudge Sauce at the ready!
Just wanted to let you know I have been making your lemonade concentrate this summer and it is awesome! I was never a big lemonade person but I have changed my tune, as long as my glass is made from this recipe! I add the lemon zest to the concentrate as suggested. When I make a glass for myself I have added blackberries or blueberries and mashed them a bit and a few of my family love when I add fresh mint .
Another recipe I tried was the Southwestern rice salad. Hmm, needed something but not sure what, maybe next time I will go a little heavier on the salsa!
Hi Jane, I’m delighted the lemonade has been a hit and love your addition of muddled berries. With regards to the salad, I do find that if one goes heavy on the rice, the dressing tends not to be sufficient. Perhaps this helps…and if not, maybe more salsa will!