Confession No. 51 — Why sweat the big things? Worry about the small (really important) stuff.

I‘ve been accused a time (or six) of being a complainer. While I’m not ready to accept that, I do admit to griping about certain things in life that are worthy of being bitched about.

Along with my high cholesterol and blood pressure, my tendency to sweat the small things will probably shave some years from my life.

Some of my biggest day-to-day frustrations involve mustard. When I squeeze the bottle and get a couple drams of yellow-colored water — instead of the thick yellow contents — it almost ruins my day. Brown mustard is even worse.

Ketchup’s no better except I rarely, if ever, use it on a sandwich. So, no chance of soaking down the bread. One thing that really bothers me about ketchup, though, are the little packets. First, they are too damn small. And, what the hell is that syrupy goop that ends up on every third packet? It’s as irritating as chigger bites.

Though I don’t usually verbalize my issue with powdered drink mixes — especially the ‘lite’ ones — I tend to go over again and again (in my head) the raunchy taste of the dust. And it never fails: someone in the next room empties a single powder packet into a bottle of water and I inhale — and taste — saccharin or some other nasty artificial sweetener.

Most people probably share my complaint about can openers. I’d rather they not work at all, instead of cutting just enough of the lid to make a mess while still preventing me from prying. These moments make me want to put my fist through the wall.

Speaking of canned goods, someone out there could probably get rich just keeping up with manufacturers who surreptitiously reduce the amount of product — but keep the price the same. They’ve been doing it with coffee for years, but when it comes to stuff like coconut milk or pumpkin, it’s a real pain in the neck, and one reason that Thanksgiving is not high on my list of favorite holidays. Yes. This bothers me that much.

What I don’t bitch about
The weather in my northeast Texas town reached 104 degrees yesterday. It’s uncomfortable. It’s also par for the course. Summer is hot. Anyone who has a complaint (and there are plenty who do) should move to Maine, where there is snow on the ground half the year. As for me … I just make sure the air-conditioner is in working order (we spent $800 just this past month on an emergency service call); the electric bill is paid on time; and that there is plenty of baby powder available for my use. Besides, the hotter the summer, the better October feels.

Car wrecks and traffic tickets have also never really bothered me. I’m speaking of those experienced and received by my beautiful bride, since I have a spotless record in both categories. Wrecks and tickets are inconvenient, expensive and sometimes scary. Still, I tend to get more ticked at the improper grammar or misspelled words written on the citation by the officer.

And traffic itself? Sure, I’ve been known to yell a few expletives in my car. But it’s mainly been when I’ve been on an emergency route to my bathroom. Ever notice that in such situations we tend to catch every red light? Or end up behind Grandpa Grunt? Otherwise, I’m generally calm in the car.

I have never lost a moment of sleep over people’s fashion sense, or lack thereof. So some guys wear their pants around their knees and some people believe it’s OK to go out in public in pajamas. Is this really worth talking about on Facebook? I also don’t advertise my headaches or fire ant stings. Oh, I could. But, let’s face it. Does anyone really care?

I don’t complain about my job, my boss or my co-workers. Why? Because I love all of them. Always have. I’m fortunate in that way … but I’m also a PR guy, so complaining would be bad for the ol’ image.

I don’t complain about mail delivery, politicians or taxes. So long as emails, elections and accountants are plentiful, there is always hope.

So, my reputation is not so deserved after all. Just don’t get me started on garbage disposals or line-jumpers.

As I’ve mentioned before, it is uncommon for me to get a sweet tooth. It’s even rarer for me to crave ice cream. But this past week I did and, as luck would have it, the freezer was empty. I would’ve complained, but my family was 1,500 miles away. So I decided to recreate a frozen ice cream-like treat from my childhood — named for the soft drink it contains. In the process of trying to obtain the recipe, I ended up enacting a temporary boycott on the company that makes it (the name includes a ‘lucky’ number, followed by a common preposition) because they responded to me with poorly written form letter. My luck changed when a good friend  confirmed that my dad’s memory was correct: this sweet cold stuff has only two ingredients. For that, the old recipe gets a new name.

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Soda Pop Sherbet (formerly known as 7UP Ice Cream)

This was the homemade 'ice cream' that I grew up on — sans the slice of Meyer Lemon. Only two simple ingredients and about 30 minutes in the ice cream maker and the memories came flooding back.

This was the homemade ‘ice cream’ that I grew up on — sans the slice of Meyer Lemon. Only two simple ingredients and about 30 minutes in the ice cream maker and the memories came flooding back.

Soda Pop Sherbet
This was the homemade 'ice cream' that I grew up on — sans the slice of Meyer Lemon. It requires only two simple ingredients and about 30 minutes in the ice cream maker.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
  • 1 quart - lemon-lime soda (or any soda of your choosing)
  • 1 14 0z. can — Sweetened condensed milk
  1. Place ingredients in ice cream maker, following manufacturer's instructions.
  2. This will produce an icy soft-serve, which is exactly what I enjoyed as a child.
  3. Want a firmer sherbet? Place in the freezer for another hour, or so.



  1. juanitascocina says:

    This soda pop sherbet is co-seen-ah approved.

    P.S.~ That is a kick-ass photo. Just sayin’.

  2. What an awesome ‘recipe.’ I love the fact that I don’t have to have heavy cream on hand to make this. I rarely have that, but I always have sweetened condensed milk!

    So, you do know that if you shake up the bottles before squeezing there won’t be any of that nasty liquid (which I call mustard or ketchup pee), right?

  3. hahaha nice! I am often told I am crazy because i get caught up on little things like that too!

  4. Tea Foodie [by Zanitea] says:

    I love this recipe idea! I will try it with one of my tea sodas. I grew up with a lime sherbet and 7-Up punch at holidays.

  5. So glad I found you and this Sherbet and even more glad I took the time to read your whole post. You are quite entertaining and I agree with you on most of your points. I often laugh at friends that complain about traffic around here (we only have 4 stop lights) and remind then, it could be so much worse in a big city. Off to look around some more and see what other delicious things you’ve got hidden!

  6. krismarie77 says:

    Love this post, Adam! it’s so me! I can totally see myself punching the wall right next to my can opener because my roommate has slowly destroyed it over the year he’s lived here. I only use it for my cat’s tuna, and went to use it this afternoon actually. it half opened the can! I ALMOST went to send my roommate through the wall! LOL

    • Hey Kris! I hope all is well with you. Insist that the roommate buy a new can opener.

      • krismarie77 says:

        Seriously, Adam! I’ve had it for 10 years and never had a problem until he came to live with me. Now I find myself cleaning the thing out of all his cans’ labels before I use it so it actually goes. Ugh. At least he stopped dropping his uncooked Ramen Noodles all over the floor. Now THAT was a PIA. :) Keep up the posts, I love ‘em! Have a great week!

  7. Can openers SUCK. Your ice cream recipe does not!! Beautiful!

  8. rantsfrommycrazykitchen says:

    Ok, I think I might be you minus the car wreak thing, because my grandmother died in one, but other than that I completely agree!

  9. Dude, I am totally w/you on the mustard and ketchup! Why in the devil I don’t remember that the water dribbles first, then you get a pretty good squirt, then the suction’s all gone and you get a spray/splatter…that’s when I’m really ticked! lol! Always luv seeing your smile and reading your posts! xo Ally

    • Appreciate you, Ally. I’ve even considered going back to jarred mustard, but nah. The only other option with ketchup is the old glass bottle, which was a real pain at times.

  10. Sounds yummy and refreshing – the ice cream recipe that is (lol). Thanks for sharing.

  11. “Still, I tend to get more ticked at the improper grammar or misspelled words written on the citation by the officer”
    I’m going to be laughing at this ALL day!!

  12. Neat recipe! I love how simple it is. My brother will surely appreciate this. :)

  13. This looks DELICIOUS! I think I need to go out and get an ice cream maker.

  14. Ugh…the ketchup and mustard thing…TOTALLY worthy of copious complaints!

    I’m grateful you voiced something that’s been living in my head all these years…

  15. Congrats on being freshly pressed! I’m happy to have discovered your blog. As I was reading this post, I was struck by the eerie similarities between us two – I’m also facing an early death due to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and my uncontrollable rage. The Husband tells me all the time I need to calm down. I hate when I squeeze the mustard bottle and that disgusting film of water dribbles out so I’ve conditioned myself to shake the bottle every time before I use it. Unlike you, I sweat the big and small stuff, so I’m obviously going to die far earlier than you. Thanks for this entertaining post!

  16. Nice post ,creative recipe .l might try it.Change makes life more challenging. Regards. Jalal Michael

  17. Reblogged this on Brent A Robinson.

  18. aschmid3 says:

    That putrid mustard water is one of the great banes of my existence. Why do I so often forget to shake the bottle first? WHY?!?!

    However, traffic definitely ranks much higher on the list of things that immediately tick me off. I feel like the slow drivers keeping me from even doing the speed limit, the impatient ones cutting me off and the distracted ones drifting into my lane while they text on their phones are basically saying their time is more important than everyone else’s. And nothing gets me more riled up than some good old fashioned entitlement issues!

    That sherbet looks delicious!

    • Aschmidt – I do confess to believing that my time is more important than everyone else’s, but I drive in the slow lane and rarely cut anyone off.

      • aschmid3 says:

        As long as you’re in the right lane, you’re fine with me! It’s the jerks clogging up the passing lane, and therefore the entire highway, that get me raging.

  19. I was sucked in to looking at your blog by the image of the sherbet. Loved your yarn and totally agree that the small things are the ones that set us off. Reblogged your recipe on in the hope my daughter will make some.

  20. Have you ever had 7Up cake? It’s basically a pound cake made with 7Up. It was my brother’s favorite growing up and it’s the only cake I cannot get to come out of the pan without sticking!!

    • I’ve never heard of it Barbie, but it sounds interesting.

    • capecodbarbie,
      Just today I saw a suggestion to prevent cake sticking to the pan: Grease the pan (or spray it with cooking spray, then line with parchment paper. (The spray keeps the parchment paper in place.)

      Love your blog. I’m with you on the mustard/ketchup problem. But it just occurred to me that if you can figure out an acceptable way to store your mustard & ketchup bottles upsidedown, you won’t get the runny stuff … perhaps standing in a cup, or a small length of pvc pipe (?).

  21. This is a beautiful blog! Now I really want birthday cake and ice crea for my birthday this week! (LOL) We’d love you to come see what we are up to at my as we have combined my husband, Nazim Artists contemporary art work with my holistic healing paradigm which we call the Art of Wellness Collection. I have a spelt brownie cake I will share one of these days and homemade raw cream ice cream recipe! Nazim and I cordially invite you to stop by with perhaps a cup of tea and have a cyber visit with us too!

  22. I know what you mean about the weather. I grew up in Texas, and recently moved from St. Louis to Reno. I quickly got sick of all my St. Louis friends posting pictures of thermometers or advertising the high temperature of the day! As though summer temperatures are a surprise every year! Get over it people! I bet you’re gonna do the same thing in the winter, right?! Mustard does not make me happy either. Anywhoo, funny blog. :)

  23. Totally food for thought, I also refuse to accept that I complain about what pisses me off. And the older I get the more I feel that it is my right to remove cumbersome filters:) Anyhow, love your blog, and the photo looks so cool and delicious, I am trying it even though I am not a soda person. cheers!

  24. OK Adam good to know, thanks again.

  25. Sarah D. says:

    I don’t have an ice cream maker, but I’m going to try this recipe and just beat the heck out of it with a fork. Great post!

    • Sarah – I don’t have an ice cream maker either, but I did borrow one and still put it in the freezer. Just mix the hell out of it and freeze it, stirring occasionally with a really strong fork or axe handle.

  26. Great post! I want to try this recipe. I bought an ice cream maker last summer thinking I would use it soo much but found that alot of the recipes were more time consuming than I thought they would be….So, I let my sister take the ice cream maker….I hope she will let me borrow it back. haha! This sounds and looks yummy…hopefully I’ll get to try it soon!

  27. cooL…. I would love to try that recipe… Great post… tnx so much for sharing!

  28. How did I not see this? What a fun and easy way to make something yummy…I am thinking orange soda for a dreamcicle sort of thing…what would beer do? Hmmmmm.

  29. Love the recipe and its simplicity. :)

  30. So simple! need to invest in an ice cream maker now…

  31. This is great! I like to complain about cyclists, bad grammar and can totally relate to the horrible sauce dribble!

  32. Thanks for this awesome ice cream recipe, I love it ’cause its too easy to make. Added this on pinterest to share to my friends. :D

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  33. I hate ketchup pkgs!!! I also hate brown mustard!
    I love heat – the hotter the better (though in Toronto we rarely if ever get as hot as Texas) and traffic tickets and traffic are just irritating – love this blog!

  34. Love sherbet, so I will be trying out this simple recipe. Congratulations on being freshly pressed!

  35. Interesting recipe. With only two ingredients, it’s worth a shot! Great post.

  36. Amazing confession. I remember my father making this ice cream when we visited my grandmother in Alabama; using the old crank turn ice cream maker. My cousins and I (ages ranging from 30 to 4) would take turn cranking it. Yummy – I’m sure you also tried this with Nehi or Crush (orange, strawberries and grape) or 50/50 (grapefruit/lime) pop from the Midwest. :-)

    • Glad you stopped by, Barb. Believe it, or not, I’ve never had this with any other type of soda. After being insulted by the 7UP company, I was tempted to use Sprite, but I didn’t want to spend another $1.07. My friend Jen suggested various sodas and add-ins, such as pineapple, coconut, etc., which I’ll try.

      • Insulted?? Oh my!! That’s not good. There’s a 7UP upside down cake recipe my mom has – she made it a few times when we were small. It’s a very old recipe (40+) at least. Pineapple sounds good as an add-in. Yum!

  37. Wow, looks so yummy! Wish I could have grown up with this and tried it too. What we have over here in the Phils, is ice cream from a vendor with a sort of push-cart that he sells on the streets. My memories about it are fun as well. :=)

  38. listen up dear … what I tell you is for real … you really have to teach yourself not to sweat any stuff … for that’s what gives you the bl pressure and cholestrol and anything else you care to put down as illnesses. BUY MY BOOK MASTERMIND AND TAKE THE CHALLENGE

  39. Soda pop Sherbet looks great! I can’t believe I’ve gone twenty years of my life without making/ eating this!

  40. I MUST make this! Thinking of using cream soda… Congrats on being ‘freshly pressed” too!

  41. Anne Bonney says:

    Love this recipe – can’t wait to try it.

  42. That looks amazing!

  43. The mustard thing makes me crazy too! And Heinz has those new ketchup bottles that stand lid side down, supposed to keep the juice from coming out first, doesn’t work, at all! You still have to shake the bottle. Nice try on your invention Heinz, but here is an invention you can have for free, just print “Shake well before serving” on the side of the bottle.

  44. “Some of my biggest day-to-day frustrations involve mustard. When I squeeze the bottle and get a couple drams of yellow-colored water — instead of the thick yellow contents — it almost ruins my day. Brown mustard is even worse.”
    This doesn’t make you a complainer; it’s a legitimate irritation. It’s like the mustard is defying you by lifting its cap on you food…..

  45. Just texted my husband to pick up those 2 simple ingredients…he bought me the ice cream maker fitting for my Kitchen Aid mixer…and I have yet to use it! He’s been poking at me to make some ice cream, and he hates chocolate. ;)

  46. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Love your writing and your sense of humor. I will be back.

  47. Amazing! A “pantry” recipe for sherbet. No special trips to the store for dairy, just grab 2 items from the pantry and you are on your way to yummy sherbert. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks Adam.

  48. Somehow I missed this post until today. Ya done good, Adam, ya done good.

  49. Well done Adam! Freshly pressed top ten. I love your blog, love Texas hot weather, there’s AC and recipes like yours to cool down with.

  50. Great ice cream!

  51. Any kind of sorbet makes me happy in the summer. As for the rest, you really were channeling Andy Rooney when you wrote this! :) My only consumer pet peeve is packaging that requires several sharp instruments to open and only results in bandages, stitches and emergency room visits. I used to get so mad but living with Brian has calmed me down. Yup, I make him do it. Very zen like now, I am. :)

  52. Love this recipe – can’t wait to try it. Thnx

  53. “the hotter the summer, the better October feels”
    LOL!! My sincerest thanks Adam .I am now verbally equipped to quit my bitching about the heat!

  54. A very entertaining read! Love the things you don’t complain about…I’m there with you on all of them…except for traffic hold ups. They can get the best of me! The ice cream sounds grand and simple – a perfect recipe to try!

    • But what can you do about traffic? Not much, which is why I have a bigass QR code sticker on both the rear window of both cars. Stuck in trafic? Scan this — and go to my blog.

  55. Great read, I recently had to vent about my experiences of healthy eating

  56. Hi, neighbor! I live in Northeast Texas too! Loved your wit and the recipe! Thanks for sharing! Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  57. Reblogged this on affiliatecareer.

  58. Get an OXO can opener ~ you’ll love it. It even gently removes the lid with a little pincer, nary a sharp edge to be found. And that sherbet, bing-bang awesome!

  59. I got stuck at the mustard / ketchup juice thing. That upsets me so much I can’t actually talk about it. It’s like death coming at you when all you wanted was happiness. Just awful. (P.S. Loved the blog – I have subscribed and will be returning!)

  60. Reblogged this on bexie001.

  61. Awesome!
    Hope all is well.
    The Clarences

  62. This looks delicious! Will be trying this out when I am free…

  63. My culinary skills just got better! I agree, great food comes down to irs smallest details. Thanks to this

  64. I like your confessions of what you do and don’t complain of. I complain about all of it! As I confessed in my ‘About’, I have an easily activated frustration button. I am certain I will eventually go to Heaven, or Nirvana, and nothing will ever bother me again. I’m not sure this is a desirable state, but after a lifetime of frustrations, and then castigating myself for not appreciating my good life and all that I do have, it may be a sweet relief. As for what other people wear in public, if they didn’t wear them, we wouldn’t have those great pix of the shoppers at Wal Mart that make the rounds, now and then.

  65. Absolutely brilliant.

  66. Soda pop and ice cream is a deadly combination, yet one I can’t help but indulge in from time to time. Ah, the joys and pains of having a sweet tooth!
    I agree with your “complaints” which I am sure are voiced by all who have ever stocked up on canned goods and processed foods in the event of an actual nuclear winter. Eating is a serious affair because it’s straightforward, unlike politics and parking tickets. Dodgy packaging and cheapened products are a hassle, nevertheless they will never diminish a true epicurean’s love for food. If anything, it heightens the romanticism behind making things yourself, even if it’s just a two ingredient treat made in a Texan summer! Thanks for sharing your simple yet charming recipe and congrats for the ‘Freshly Pressed’ title!

    • Thank you, Micah. That was one of those recipes I made when my wife took the children half way across the country to visit her family. Perhaps I should have done it for them while they were home, but it was one of those things that occurred when I started missing them and needed some comfort food from my childhood. I appreciate your kind words.

  67. cassiehayes says:

    I love the idea of ice cream made out of soda so much that I had to include you in my ice cream round up. Happy Fourth of July!

  68. Reblogged this on The Unorthodox Epicure.

  69. It’s winter here and I still want that sherbet. Can I make it without an ice cream maker?

  70. As has become our new Sunday morning ritual (I suck at crosswords), Brian and I sat up in bed with our morning coffee, reading the latest post from Mr. Holland this morning. Two sentences into the post, I had an epiphany… You and I are twins, separated by birth, Adam.
    I adore you, my brother from another mother!

    Oh, and 2-ingredient frozen treats? Sheer genius!

  71. I’m with you! Somehow the bigger stuff (car accidents, tickets, hot weather in the summer etc) feels more expected…You can’t get through life without experiencing SOMETHING big that sucks, and everyone around you is going to have had something similar happen to them.

    But the little stuff? Man, it’s like life is picking on you personally! Why DOES the stupid mustard have to be so freaking watery? Day ruiner for sure.

  72. Ahhh … the post that started it all. Love this essay so much I read it whenever I am grumpy. Keep it up Adam!

  73. If we had those kind of temperatures here, that nice little treat would be all I’d feel like eating. I just read something about living in New England that said we do have 4 seasons here in New England: Almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction.
    I wouldn’t complain about politicians if they would just stop “fighting for me”… hell, I don’t want them fighting – I’d just like them to work together to help me out a little.

    • Well, I live in a hotbed of presidential hopefuls who continuously compare Texas to other countries. While I’m hardly apathetic, I’ve decided that most political speak (regardless of party) is good blog material and not much more.

  74. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  75. Joe Reaves says:

    Gee, Adam!! One could almost set this current and truthful blog to Sinatra’s “My Way”. My complaints are few and far between. It still unnerves me to hear and read journalists that either forgot AP Stylebook, or were never taught in the first place. When I hear the phrases “First Annual”,or “9:30 am this morning” I shake my head in disbelief. Pretty slim pickings on what gets my dandruff in an uproar, but I do like to keep it simple.

    • …and the AP Stylebook, albeit a living/changing document, is available online for about $25 per year. So, it’s not exactly difficult to access. But one must read and consult it occasionally. The whole ‘First Annual’ thing is just someone who’s not thinking. You shouldn’t need a style book to know that there’s no such thing.

  76. ok, I am laughing out loud over mustard water on the first squirt. Isn’t it the worst?

  77. Margaret Oakes says:

    Adam, a question — is this only workable with sugared soda (which it may be, because of the chemistry) or can you use diet soda (which is the only kind we keep around?

  78. Hi, I have a question, is it possible to make it with a blender? or you need the ice cream maker? thanks!

    • adamjholland says:

      It is. In fact, I’ve made it in a blender as well as just freezing the mixture and mixing occasionally.

  79. What if I don’t have icecream maker?

    • adamjholland says:

      There are several ways to go about it. The easiest is to freeze it in a glass baking dish, stirring occasionally.

  80. Why don’t they just make ketchup in a small jar that won’t squirt all over you! ha ha Wouldn’t that make sense? As far as the mustard, I always shake first. Mary

  81. FYI, I think your picture has been swiped: :(

    • adamjholland says:

      Thanks, Rachel. I’ve always asked people to steal from me. Now, someone finally does and that person is too stupid to list the (simple) measurements. Damn.

  82. One of our favorite “ice cream” recipes: 2 cans sweetened condensed milk, 2-liter bottle of Orange Crush (or your favorite orange soda), 1 large can crushed pineapple with juice – makes a wonderful pineapple-orange sherbet. If want it a little creamier, just fill ice cream maker up to fill mark with whole milk.

  83. I don’t have an ice cream maker. What can i do?


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