An Ice Cream Twist

Don’t feel blue that summer is almost over, as there are still plenty of summer (and fall) days to enjoy the delicious in-season vegetable and fruit. Although the weather changes from sunshine, hail, rain, and sometimes even snow in a day in Chicago, we can still enjoy our favorite delicious summer vegetables, fruits, and snacks year-round. There are just some snacks that scream it’s time for summer and here is one of my favorites…

Everyone loves the delicious freshness received from licking the mouth-watering ice cream in a scoop, cone, or sundae on hot days and humid nights. The possibilities of ice cream flavors are endless, ranging from originals, enhancers, or refreshers. Vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry are the typical ice cream favorites with vegetable ice cream being less common. Vegetables as a flavor base for ice cream might seem a bit strange to some, however we can still enjoy our ice cream sundaes with a nutrition twist.

Ice cream is a delicious frozen treat that is easily to fall in love with, made from simple ingredients found in your local grocery store like milk, cream, sugar, eggs, and whatever flavoring you desire. With around 200 calories per cup, ice cream has substantial amounts of calcium and protein, as well as energizing B vitamins and potassium. However, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that adults consume five servings of vegetables a day. By incorporating vegetables into ice cream, we can meet our vegetable requirements without diminishing any of the flavors.

Nowadays grocery stores have nearly every food product imaginable with vegetable ice cream being one item that is sometimes hard to chance upon. Therefore making your own vegetable ice cream can be a fun experience for the entire family.  Although it may seem daunting at first, if you never made homemade ice cream before, it can be a quite simple. You don’t even have to buy a fancy ice cream maker; all you need are plastic bags, salt, ice cubes, milk, vanilla, and your favorite fruits and vegetables. We all know that water freezes into ice, so you want to get rid of as much of it as possible, by cooking the fruit or vegetables down on the stove or oven-roasting it; otherwise you will have chunks of fruits and vegetables in the ice cream, which taste delicious too.

The switch is simple and once you’ve tried it yourself, you will never go back to having ice cream without a vegetable or fruit in it. But if ice cream in September sounds too cold for you, then you can always try a smoothie or eating the vegetables and fruits themselves plain or in a salad, quiche, soup, or whatever else you prefer. Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables are cost-efficient as those items are typically on sale at your local grocery store. Ice cream is the perfect finish for a delicious meal, a soothing treat when things are less than pleasing, or a way to chill out and cool off.

Here are two great recipes to wake up those taste buds:

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

(Borrowed from: http://www.superhealthykids.com/kids-favorite-green-ice-creams/)
1 cup milk
1 cup frozen spinach or kale
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup mint leaves
1 frozen banana
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

 

Blend milk, greens, vanilla, honey, mint, and banana in a high powered blender.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Scoop into bowl, freeze for 2-4 hours, and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tropical Coconut

(Borrowed from: http://www.superhealthykids.com/kids-favorite-green-ice-creams/)
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup frozen spinach or kale
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup frozen pineapple
1 frozen banana
Flaked coconut for garnish

 

Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender.  Pour into a container and freeze at least 4 hours.  After frozen, remove from freezer and wait about 10 minutes to make scooping easier for your enjoyment!

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