Monday, June 11, 2012

Strawberry Ice Cream

I can remember the last time I ate McDonald's ice cream fudge sundae about a year ago, pre-vegan days. Tasted pretty good. The next morning I felt like I had been hit by a bus.

I felt so horrible, I slept as long as I could, but it was Sunday and I had to get myself and my three kids ready for church. I can remember barely being able to wash my face and throw on a dress as I walked through what seemed to be a cloudy haze. It was like a milk hangover. Yuck. I spent all of church in a sick stupor and for the few minutes that Paul could sit by me (he's in the bishopric) I lay my head on his shoulder and whined as I tried to recover with my eyes closed.

I vowed to myself that I would never eat McDonald's ice cream again. It took until about 3:00 in the afternoon to finally recover, and I haven't touched dairy ice cream since.

More than 50% of adults are actually allergic to milk, or lactose intolerant, according to Dr. John Mcdougall. I believe him. Especially today's milk that is filled with antibiotics, growth hormones, and plenty of junk. A lot of it is cross-contaminated from the filthy conditions in which cows are raised.

So, we make non-dairy ice cream. No cows or people are injured or abused in the process.

I think I ate like 3/4 cup (I blame Paul, he served me up!) of this ice cream last night. Afterwards, and this morning, I felt great. No dairy hangover with this stuff!

Making non-dairy ice cream is a breeze!

And kids love helping out.

After you have gathered all of your ingredients, (nuts, coconut milk, guar gum, sea salt, strawberries, vanilla or vanilla bean, non-dairy milk, maple syrup and granulated sugar)

Blend it all up in the blender. The first time I made this, it tasted a little too coconutty-ish. I added extra strawberries and granulated sugar the second time (didn't have the vanilla bean, I am sure this also enhances vanilla flavor more) and it tasted so good! I will show those modifications in the recipe below.

And grab your frozen ice cream bowl. Try to leave it in your freezer until you have everything set up and ready so it doesn't thaw.

Maybe freezing your ice cream bowl should be step 1? When I first bought my ice cream maker I didn't know I was supposed to freeze the bowl so I poured in all the ingredients and kept wondering "Why isn't the mixture getting cold and thickening?" Ha ha. LOL. The manual says to put the bowl in your freezer for 6-22 hours to get it frozen. I keep mine clean and in the freezer at all times (manual also suggests doing this) so that we can make ice cream whenever we get the hankerin'.

Then turn your assembled ice cream maker on and immediately pour in your blended ingredients. I use the cuisinart ice cream maker because it does not require that I buy or make separate ice, but you will need to follow the directions for whatever specific ice cream maker you purchase.

After about 20 minutes the mixture should start to thicken. Turn off your ice cream maker when the cream reaches soft-serve consistency. If you go any longer than this, the mixture will actually start melting.

At this point you can serve and enjoy, or pour into a freezer-safe container, and freeze a little longer.

It freezes beautifully!

We always freeze ours because the colder it is, the better it tastes. It takes about 3-4 hours to set in the freezer. And when we use our ice cream scoop it always comes out looking like the ice cream it was meant to be! Thick and creamy, sweet and refreshing. Dare I even say energizing?!?

My kids and I used this basic recipe to make mint chocolate chip ice cream. Instead of strawberries we used 2 cups tightly packed spinach (makes it green and I promise you can't taste the spinach!!) with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon pure mint extract and some finely chopped non-dairy chocolate chips. Fabulous! Let me know if you want that exact recipe posted, too.

Strawberries 'n' Cream Ice Cream
Adapted from Dreena Burton's Let Them Eat Vegan!

1 and 1/2 cups fresh strawberries (or frozen) (I suggest coarsely cutting the strawberries so that you can fit more in your measuring cup)
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk (not light)
1/2 cup raw cashews (macadamia nuts are also great!)
1/2 cup plain or vanilla non-dairy milk
1/2 cup pure maple syrup or agave nectar
1/4 cup granulated white sugar (optional, but I recommend)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon (rounded) guar gum
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean (I used 1/2 to 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, but I am sure it tastes fantastic with vanilla bean!)

In a blender (I use Blendtec), combine all the ingredients and puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed (this may take a few minutes with a standard blender). Transfer the mixture to an ice-cream maker (follow the directions of the specific model), and churn until the mixture is of soft-serve consistency. Transfer to a container to store in the freezer, and freeze until serving.

Dreena suggests making a batch of brownies ahead of time and cutting them into small cubes. Add to the ice cream the last few seconds of churning for a special treat.

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