Ice Creamy Holidays

Hi, kids! Keeping my vow to put my gadget to good use, I put my ice cream maker to work today, and I wanted to tell you all about my easy formula for making a tasty frozen dessert. I also wanted to say “hello” as it has been a few days since my last post. Summer seems to be flying by, and I’m staying nice and busy. That means less posting for now, but I do hope you guys will continue checking in with me anyway!Β 

Check out today’s batch of ice cream in my very special bowl:

Berry Cherry "Ice Cream"

Some of my favorite food memories from childhood involve homemade ice cream eaten out of the very same bowls I used for my little treat this evening. I was thinking about my family while making my ice cream today, and wishing they lived closer so I could share it with them!

My grandparents had a wooden White Mountain ice cream maker with a crank that you turned by hand. It looked like this one:

White MountainMy mom, aunt and brother all have summertime birthdays, and since there are plenty of hot weather holidays too, we often had a great reason to make a batch of homemade ice cream. Sometimes I would just pester my memaw and papaw for homemade ice cream on any old random Saturday too. Ice cream making was always a festive holiday of its very own!

My favorite recipe was (is) a custard style vanilla ice cream from an ancient Southern Living magazine. I was most excited when we used that recipe, and, just to be sure it didn’t get lost, I wrote it in the margins of my mother’s Betty Crocker Cookbook. It’s there for safe keeping and peace of mind. πŸ™‚

My memaw would keep empty milk cartons filled with water in the freezer so we would have plenty of ice on hand. When it was time, my papaw would get out his red handled hammer and break the ice into chunks in a big metal bowl that served many purposes. Sometimes that bowl was full of green beans for snapping, purple hulled peas for shelling or laundry headed to the clothesline. Talk about a multi-tasker! I loved watching the hammer tear the cartons into shreds and looking at the interestingly shaped chunks of ice. My papaw and my dad would pack the ice all around the metal canister full of our custardy ice cream mix, layering it with dingy, grey rock salt (I’d steal bits of it for nibbling purposes, of course… despite the dirty color… ) and then my papaw, my dad, and my uncle, if he and my aunt were in town for the weekend, would take turns cranking the ice cream.

I remember waiting and waiting and waiting until the handle became hard to turn. That was the signal that it was nearly done! Then, they would wrap an old quilt around the bucket and let it sit for a few minutes to let it firm up a bit more. This was always the hardest part for me. Oh, the waiting. It was torture!

There were lots of opportunities to have little science lessons during this process too. It seemed counterintuitive to me, as a kid, that putting a blanket on the ice cream would make it get colder. How could that be?? Blankets made you warm! What was the deal with the salt? Why would you want to melt the ice? Until I learned the reasons behind those things, it all seemed very mysterious and magical. Who am I kidding? Even after those science lessons were learned, it was still very magical to me!

Finally, after what seemed like forever, the salty ice water would be emptied out of the big wooden bucket, and the gleaming silver canister of ice cream would be brought into the kitchen. It would go straight into the kitchen sink, it’s metallic surface fogging up as it got hit by the hot and humid air of an Arkansas summer. Then, the lid would come off, and the bowls would come out of the freezer where they had been chilling. These bowls with their little grape pattern:

Bowl, Sweet BowlI love that I have these bowls, and that I can use them for my own little homemade ice cream. Β 

It took me years to wise up to the fact that my memaw would always volunteer to take on the tough task of scraping the ice cream off of the metal beater because the ice cream was more solidly frozen in the spots where it was stuck to the metal. She was wily for sure!!

She was also a great cook. We would often have brownies and cookies with our ice cream, and some favorite ice cream toppings were blueberry pie filling, a buttery praline pecan mixture that she would make on the stove, and fresh strawberries. Oh my! I will never forget those lazy summer evenings, and the celebration we would create by cooking together.Β 

When my parents were here a few weeks ago, we had a slightly different “citified” ice cream making experience when we made a batch of watermelon sorbet using my countertop ice cream maker. There were no milk carton shaped blocks of ice and no hammers were needed, but it was still… fun! Remember this?

Sweet Watermelon SorbetI shared the sorbet recipe with you, but I kept the recipe for what we did with the other half of the watermelon to myself. My mom and I seeded the whole watermelon and pureed it all at the same time. Half went into the sorbet, and we made another little batch of frozen goodness with the other half later in the week. We mixed the pureed watermelon, lime zest and lime juice with my special ingredient and, like magic, it made sweet and creamy watermelon ice cream. I wanted to experiment a bit more to see if it really was as easy it seemed.Β 

I’ve learned that it’s possible to make a tasty “ice cream” with pureed fruit, a bit of lemon or lime juice and this special ingredient:

Mmmm....Ah yes– one of my favorite summertime ingredients often found in recipes like lemon ice box pie and strawberry pizza. No southern picnic or church potluck is complete, in my opinion, without a dessert involving sweetened condensed milk! Mmm… I could eat it with a spoon, but I wouldn’t. No. I’d never do that. I might run my finger around the inside of the can, but never my tongue. Too dangerous. I might know from experience. πŸ™‚ Anyhoo…Β 

I decided to use some cherries and berries from the freezer in today’s batch along with a few fresh blueberries to fill out the mix. Since the farmer’s market is still two days away, I was glad I had some nice frozen fruit in the freezer. If you catch them on sale, frozen berries and cherries can be a cheaper alternative for fresh berries when they aren’t in season. Plus, I love being able to keep some berries on hand.

Frozen FruitiesSince I only had about 3 1/2 cups of fruity goodness after I pureed my frozen and fresh berries, I added a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond breeze. I’d skip the almond breeze unless you are running a bit short of fruit like I was today. We had plenty of watermelon for our melon batch, and didn’t add any extra milk at all. It was still nice and creamy!

In addition to the berries and cherries, I added the juice of one lemon to the blender. A little bit of lemon or lime really brightens up the flavors. I could have added some zest, but I was feeling a bit lazy. πŸ™‚ After I had my fruit, lemon juice and, in this case, almond breeze, all ready to go, I stirred in the little can of love. Then, I put the whole shebang into the ice cream maker, and let it do its thing for thirty minutes.

Cherry Berry Love

No hand cranking required! Once it was done, I scraped it into a freezer safe container and weighed it on my food scale in grams. If you notice, containers of store bought ice cream typically tell you the number of calories in cups and in grams. I plugged the nutritional information for my ingredients into the Sparkpeople recipe calculator, divided by the number of servings I wanted, and then divided the total number of grams of ice cream by my chosen number of servings. That allows me to measure out a bowl in grams and to know how many calories are in a serving. It takes a little bit of time, but it’s a great way to enjoy a treat responsibly. Since I’m probably going to be eating the whole batch over the next week or so, I knew that I would like to have some idea so that I could avoid going overboard, but still enjoy my little bowlful of berry cherry yum.

Weighty but Tasty

The grand total of grams was 1216. I calculated the NI for 10 servings, so I know the number of calories in a 121 gram serving. That made for a pretty nicely sized bowl! Perfect! Since I used the fat free sweetened condensed milk, it’s virtually fat free too. πŸ™‚ Y’all know I really watch what I eat in order to avoid gaining back the 180 pounds I’ve lost, but I refuse to give up treats. Eating them responsibly is my compromise.

Drumroll Please...Now that I have a container of this in the freezer, continuing to firm up, I’m all set for dessert for the holiday weekend. Yay!! I would share this with friends in a heartbeat. Of course, if I end up eating it all myself, no tears will be shed. πŸ™‚ Just to recap, here’s today’s recipe:

Super Simple Cherry Berry “Ice Cream”

3 1/2 to 4 cups of pureed berries and cherries (or melon, or peaches, or mangos, or bananas, or… you get the point)

1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond breeze or skim milk (If you have 4 cups of pureed fruit, you could leave this out and still get a creamy result.)

Juice of one lemon or lime (you can add the zest too for more zing)

1 14 ounce can of fat free sweetened condensed milk

Combine all ingredients, and process in your ice cream maker following the directions for your machine. My Cuisinart ice cream maker took 30 minutes to freeze this to a nice consistency. Place it in the freezer to continue firming up until it’s time to serve!Β 

Makes 10-12 servings that are about 1/2 a cup each

Here’s wishing you all a very festive fourth of July! Tomorrow night, I’m going to the Nats game with some friends, and I’ve heard that there will be fireworks. Wheeee!!!! On the fourth, I will be watching the fireworks on the National Mall from the roof of my building on the other side of the Potomac. We have a pretty awesome view of the monuments and the Capitol from my little piece of Virginia, and it’s always fun to see the smaller displays going off in communities all along the river too. What are your plans?

Whatever you do to celebrate the fourth, I hope you enjoy some good food, friends, fireworks and family. Ciao for now, y’all!

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12 Comments

Filed under cooking, Cooking Light, diet, Food, Recipes, Sorbet, Uncategorized, Watermelon, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

12 responses to “Ice Creamy Holidays

  1. Erin

    Oh, that looks so good! I love berry ice cream. It looks so creamy and delicious in that picture.

  2. Okay, after tempting us with all those delicious pictures, did you say how many calories were in there? I have been wanting to get an ice cream freezer to try making frozen yogurt with my homemade yogurt, and you about have me talked into it! We had one of those wooden ice cream buckets when I was a kid too, and some of the same happy memories! But that butter pecan stove topping sounds divine. I am salivating just thinking about it!

    • Hi, Debby-
      You should definitely get one! It really is fun to make your own!!

      I didn’t include the number of calories because there are so many possible variations in this recipe. I wouldn’t want to misinform anyone, and I think the free recipe calculator on Sparkpeople is a pretty easy tool for doing your own calculations if you want to know about your particular ingredient mix. I always tweak recipes to suit my own taste so I typically end up calculating recipes for myself anyway. πŸ™‚ Obviously, the recipe builder on Weight Watchers is a great tool too, but not a free one. I still have access to the WW builder, but I’ve switched to the one on Sparkpeople because it will tell me more about the nutritional profile of the food (calcium, iron, protein, vitamin C, etc…) than the builder on WW. Just to give you a general idea, the particular mix of berry and cherry quantities that I used, along with the almond milk and condensed milk, ended up being about 158 calories for the number of servings I chose. I know if I had used more cherries or less blueberries or whatever, it would have been different. That’s a general ballpark anyway, but please do take it with all of its caveats! πŸ™‚

      • Thanks, Sweetie Pie! Of course, you are right about there being so many variables when you use a recipe. I almost always am adjusting recipes, mostly because I don’t have all the original ingredients at home!

        I love checking your blog, and seeing all your food ideas.

  3. maggieapril

    Excellent idea on the fat free condensed milk. I will be giving that a try! Loved your childhood memories – I wonder how many of us are fortunate enough to have similar ones? I do.

    maggieapril from http://www.tastenotwaist.com

  4. I never thought of using condensed milk! Great idea. I LOVE having an ice cream maker in the summer and playing around with it. The only caveat: I have too many ideas and not enough of a calorie budget to try them all! Perhaps I just need to get more helpers to eat it with me πŸ™‚

  5. I have kitchen appliance jealousy πŸ˜‰ I think I need to get an ice cream maker!! That sounds so refreshing!

  6. Ice Cream looks yummy.

    Since I am not much of a cook, I look for easy things. I found WW Latte bars (1 pt) in ice cream section. I it huge and if you like Latte it is very good. Right now I need substantial size 1 pt choices. Another 25 lbs. ? well… we will see.

    Have a great 4th.

  7. Ice cream maker…that’s top in my wish list! Even if I’m only gonna use it the 3 months a year, this looks all worth it!

  8. Okay, now I need an icecream maker! As if I don’t have enough kitchen gadgets already!

    I used to call my great grandma memaw! My great grand arents were Memaw and Ditty, and my grandparents were Grammy and Grandy!

    Hope you had a great holiday!!

  9. At first, I thought you made your ice cream with the same type of maker that your grandparents used – that’s a lot of hard work. But then I saw the Cuisinart…thank you for showing us how it works. So simple compared to the other one!

    The bowl with the little grapes is pretty. Did you say it belonged to your grandparents?

  10. Ooooooo, gorgeous color … this would make an elegant end to a dinner party, me thinks! I’m so excited abt my new ice-cream maker .. can’t wait to give this recipe a shot πŸ™‚

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