Low Sugar Chocolate Ice Cream – No Churn!

If the Low Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream would work with three ingredients without being churned, I figured a Chocolate version would work.

I was right!

Low Sugar Chocolate Ice Cream Bowl

Several suggested that if we added whole milk to the cream/sweetener/vanilla combo it would scoop out nicely. I tried that on my round two of ice cream and didn’t find it to work as well as the milkless version. I’ve decided to stick with only cream and not add milk. I’m curious what you discovered if you tried the recipe!

The only adjustment you need to make to make a chocolate version is to simply add cocoa powder to the vanilla ice cream recipe. (And if you want Chocolate Mint, just switch the vanilla extract with some mint extract. Easy!)

Low Sugar Chocolate Ice CreamYum

Low Sugar Chocolate Ice Cream - No Churn!
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3 Tablespoons real maple syrup (more or less to taste)
  • 3 heaping Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Blend ingredients together with a hand mixer or in a high power blender until they have thickened - but have not yet turned into stiff whipped cream. (The mixture should still be runny.)
  2. Pour mixture into a small casserole dish.
  3. Cover and freeze for about three hours.
  4. Scoop and serve right away.
  5. If ice cream has been in the freezer overnight, you may need to let it sit out to soften for a few minutes before serving.

Low Sugar Chocolate Ice Cream

If you didn’t guess already, this ice cream tastes delicious in my favorite Coffee Milkshake. Follow the recipe here, scoop in some of this chocolate ice cream, and you’ll have a Chocolate Mocha Milkshake.

Still to come as I continue to experiment – Low Sugar Peaches and Cream, Strawberry, and Peanut Butter Ice Cream! Hmm, while I’m at it, I suppose I should try a Mocha Ice Cream. This is too much fun.

Easy Blue Raspberry Salad

Blue Razz Salad

Back when we embarked on a Shaved Ice Business (which seems like thousands of years ago), the favorite flavor many kids chose was “Blue Razz.” Those were the early days of our healthy eating journey when I was learning more about the nastiness of artificial colors and flavors. I just couldn’t get over the fact that fun and gimmicky names really did market themselves well, even if they didn’t make sense. After all, raspberries aren’t blue.

I’m such a boring, practical mom type.

Me: Children, why would you want to eat something that isn’t true to its name?? Raspberries aren’t blue, you know.
Children: Maybe because we’re kids and it’s FUN!!?!?!!!!
Me: Fine. Turn your tongue, lips, and teeth blue. Rot your insides. I don’t even care.

None of these words were actually spoken out loud.

All of this is irrelevant to what I’m about to share, but it did occur to me as I was playing with this recipe that indeed, we were creating a Blue Razz Salad. But instead of a fake blue with a freak flavor, we’re using real blueberries and actual raspberries. Who knew real food could turn out something so fun and trendy? (We all knew this. None of this shocks us. We already know that real food tastes good and that actual fruit is very pretty.)

Blueberry Raspberry Salad

Blue Raspberry SaladYum

Easy Blue Raspberry Salad
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sweetener of choice (I used 10ish drops of stevia)
Instructions
  1. Make a blueberry "syrup" by cooking blueberries in a small saucepan on low until they have cooked down and thickened. (Add a little sugar or honey to this if you like.)
  2. In another saucepan, make a raspberry "syrup" in the same way. Both fruits take 10-15 minutes to cook down and thicken. Stir occasionally.
  3. If you want your salad to be creamy, blend the cooked fruits until smooth. If you don't mind chunks of fruit, leave the cooked fruit as-is.
  4. In the meantime, whip cream, vanilla, and sweetener until thick.
  5. Fold thickened fruit into the whipped cream until just mixed.
  6. Cover and chill salad for at least 2 hours before serving.

Blue Raspberry Salad - no sugar added!

I find this salad to be perfectly sweet because of the fruit and stevia (read more about stevia here), but we all know I’m the one who likes unsweet tea and barely sweet treats. Therefore, if you find that you would like this to be sweeter than it is, simply add a few teaspoons of sugar or honey to your fruit while it is cooking.

Now I invite you to make and eat what tastes delicious and will not make your mouth look like you are turning into a Smurf.

Iced Chocolate Using Homemade Nesquik!

Iced Chocolate

When you are the youngest of four boys, growing up in a home filled with silliness and sarcasm, you pretty much have no hope of becoming anything but silly and sarcastic.

Malachi, our 11 year old, barely remembers how to shoot it straight anymore. When we say, “How’s your project going?” he’ll answer with an enthusiastic, “Terrible!” which of course translates to mean, “I’m making some great headway here.”

This is funny-not funny because sometimes I just really need to know the answer to something without being given the run around. And then there is the issue with him using sarcasm around younger kids or unsuspecting adults. Someone might say, “You look nice today, Malachi.” and he’ll come back with with a happy, “I know.” which takes people off guard and I always hope they know he’s kidding.

We’re working on teaching discernment on when to be “funny” and when to simply answer a question already.

In the meantime, I tried a new recipe a readers sent to me that sounded amazing, but then of course, I cut down the sugar so I didn’t send everyone off to Bible class with a major sugar high. I prepared the drink, then ran upstairs to finish getting ready for church. Later when I hesitantly hollered down, “Does it taste okay? Do you like it?” Malachi promptly answered with, “No. It is really not good.”

Oh man, I had hoped this would be a fun, refreshing, filling drink I could make this summer. Oh well, I’d move on to the next idea.

Then he smiled and said, “It’s actually really amazing. Make it again.”

That kid!! I give up.

(Because that’s what frustrated parents do. They give up. They stop trying. There is no other way.)  Weird. It’s as if Malachi comes by his sarcasm naturally.

We’ll continue to work on when to be silly and when to shoot it straight, but according to Malachi, you should definitely not try this recipe. You won’t even like it. It’s disgusting.

Welcome to my world.

Iced Chocolate Using Homemade NesquikYum

By the way, all credit goes to Laura on this one. Not me. Another Laura. Laura D. She emailed me this idea!

Iced Chocolate Using Homemade Nesquik!
 
Author:
Serves: 3 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup Homemade Nesquik (see recipe below)
  • 2 cups ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Blend ingredients on high in the blender until smooth.
  2. Serve right away.

You’ll find my easy Homemade Nesquik recipe here.

Delicious and Easy Iced Chocolate

Take note that there’s still quite a bit of sugar in this because I don’t know how to adjust that in my Homemade Nesquik recipe. This makes for a great summer treat, though!

Thank you Laura D. for sending in this recipe idea. Malachi really does appreciate it, even though you might not be able to tell at first. :)

Easy Taco Salad Recipe

I sort of shared this “recipe” back in 2010 when I first posted my Homemade French Dressing recipe. Since then I’ve had several people tell me that they’d prefer me to write out an actual recipe. It’s only taken me 6 years to do it. Therefore, if you have any requests, ask now. First come, first served – I shall answer your requests by 2022.

I hope I’m kidding.

taco salad1

A key player in this salad is the French Dressing. I used to toss this with bottled Catalina Dressing, but the homemade variety is easy and better for us. If I don’t happen to have time to make the French Dressing, we just dump in a little salsa. It changes the taste of this salad, but it’s still a great meal!

I shall now attempt to write down measurable quantities of salad fixin’s to provide an actual Taco Salad recipe. If in fact you don’t follow this recipe precisely, you will still turn out a fabulous Taco Salad. For that matter, since everyone in my family has specific preferences (some like tomatoes, some don’t; some like beans, some don’t) I often lay out all the salad makings and let everyone build their own bowl however they like!

Easy Taco SaladYum

Easy Taco Salad Recipe
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 pound hamburger
  • 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning mix
  • 1 head lettuce, any variety (we prefer red leaf, green leaf or romaine)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Colby jack cheese
  • 15 ounces (or 2 cups) of pinto, chili, or black beans
  • 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1-2 cups crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 cup French Dressing (give or take)
Instructions
  1. Brown hamburger meat and season with taco seasoning mix (recipe link below)
  2. Chop or tear lettuce into a large serving bowl.
  3. Add cooked meat (cooled), shredded cheese, beans, tomatoes, and chips.
  4. Toss with French Dressing.
  5. Serve.

Other fun Taco Salad toss-in options are:

  • Black olives
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Onions
  • Peppers

I recommend making this Taco Seasoning Mix to have on hand for recipes like this. Easy and delicious!

Easy Taco Salad

We will likely enjoy this Taco Salad every week until the end of summer. How about you? Are you a Taco Salad fan?

How to Make Peach Sweet (or Unsweet) Tea

If I like the Iced Mango Tea (which I do), I think like this Peach Tea even more. Talk about refreshment on a hot day!

Peach Tea

The trick I learned since starting to play with fruity tea recipes is that it works best if we add just a tiny bit of honey or sugar to the fruit and water while we bring it to a boil. This brings out the natural sweetness and great flavor of the fruit. I wondered if this might make the tea too sweet for my liking (I’m an unsweet tea girl). But I find it to be just right. On the other hand, my husband (who likes sweet tea), doesn’t mind drinking this tea as-is, without any added sugar beyond the tiny bit of honey I add to the fruit during the boiling process.

Experiment with this and see if you can also cut down on the sugar by letting the fruit do the job naturally!

Peach Sweet (or Unsweet) TeaYum

5.0 from 1 reviews
How to Make Peach Sweet (or Unsweet) Tea
 
Author:
Serves: ½ gallon
Ingredients
  • 2 quarts of water, divided
  • 4-5 ripe peaches, sliced
  • 4-8 tea bags of your favorite black or green tea, depending on how strong you like your tea
  • Liquid stevia, honey, or sugar to taste
Instructions
  1. In a medium-sized pot, heat 1 quart of water and the peaches to boiling. Add a teaspoon of sugar or honey if you like. This will help make a "peach syrup."
  2. Simmer for about five minutes.
  3. Mush the peaches in the water and add the tea bags.
  4. Allow tea to steep for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Strain tea into a ½ gallon jar or pitcher.
  6. Add a quart of water.
  7. Stir in stevia or sugar if you want your tea sweetened.
  8. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
  9. Serve over ice.

How to Make Peach Tea

Be sure to also try the Mango Sweet (or Unsweet) Tea along with this Peach Tea. See which you like best. Up next, Raspberry Sweet (or Unsweet) Tea!

Low Sugar Coffee Milkshake Recipe

If you’re wondering what I’m up to every single afternoon of every day during the entire summer – and obviously, you surely do wonder – you can be certain that I am making myself a smooth and creamy coffee shake and sipping it slowly. This, at about 1:30 each afternoon, CST. Set your clock by it. At 1:30 each day, you can think to yourself, Laura is most certainly enjoying her coffee milkshake right about now. We are so happy for her.

Thank you for your support.

Coffee Milkshake

I would love for you to also have the option of beginning your afternoon in this way, so please, allow me to share this recipe so you can indulge and love your treat right down to the last drop. The good news is that this is very low in sugar (though you can add more if you like!) and includes all real food ingredients. I suppose the other good news is that the coffee will perk us all up for the afternoon so that we can rock on with whatever it is we need to do. Hi-yah! Glory, hallelujah.

Perhaps the one draw back to making this milkshake is that you must think and plan ahead. Hot coffee ruins the moment. All key ingredients must be cold or even frozen. And then there’s the homemade ice cream issue. The ice cream amazing and easy, but too hard to scoop if not set out a few minutes ahead of your milkshake making endeavors. So here’s the breakdown so that you can achieve Low Sugar Coffee Milkshake perfection:

  1. Cold brew some coffee, or make regular hot brew and chill it thoroughly.
  2. Make yourself some coffee iced cubes. This isn’t a must, but almost.
  3. Be sure to have Homemade Low Sugar Ice Cream in the freezer (it’s easier than you think).
  4. Set your ice cream out on the counter about ten minutes before making your shake so that it will be soft enough to scoop.

Don’t get the impression that this is a high maintenance recipe. It really is not. I typically have coffee in my fridge and coffee cubes in my freezer. It takes 2 minutes to whip up a batch of this Homemade Low Sugar Ice Cream. Then it’s just a matter of pulling it all together. At 1:30 every single afternoon.

Low Sugar Coffee MilkshakeYum

Low Sugar Coffee Milkshake Recipe
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1-2 scoops Homemade Low Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 4-6 coffee ice cubes
  • 1-2 cups cold coffee
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a blender.
  2. Serve right away.

low sugar coffee milkshake

Take note that this is not a super-sweet treat as is, so you’ll want to adjust the sweetness level by adding maple syrup according to your taste. I personally love it with a strong coffee flavor and only a tiny bit of sweetness and creaminess. But the beauty of this recipe and the Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream recipe is that you can make it sweet or less sweet without messing anything up!

Get your ingredients ready! 1:30 will be here before you know it.

Low Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream ~ 3 Ingredients ~ No Machine

I just ate a bowl of vanilla ice cream. This hasn’t happened in over three years because my body gets mad at me now when I eat much sugar. But let me say it again: I just ate a bowl of ice cream. Happy, happy, happy, happy!!

Low Sugar Ice Cream

I’ve been wanting to figure out how to make low sugar ice cream (for three years), but I had two hang-ups:

  1. I was feeling pretty lazy about pulling out my ice cream freezer.
  2. I wasn’t confident that cutting the sugar in ice cream would taste good and I didn’t want to waste ingredients.

So I started doing some looking online. There are plenty of recipes for “no churn” ice cream so I could avoid the trouble of getting out my ice cream machine, but they all call for sweetened condensed milk. Nope. That wouldn’t make it low sugar.

Other recipes took way too many steps, at which point I figured I might as well suck it up and get out my ice cream freezer.

Finally, I decided to try the “no-churn” method I’d read about – but with healthier ingredients I feel good about instead of condensed milk – and just see what would happen. I decided if it didn’t turn out – at the very least I could re-purpose the cream mixture into a smoothie.

When you see this recipe you will wonder (like I am wondering) why it took me so much research and time to figure this out.

Three ingredients. Three. They are so obvious. (Cream, maple syrup, vanilla. See? Why did I make this so hard?)

The trick is to whip the ingredients together just long enough that they thicken, but don’t turn into whipped cream. This isn’t hard as long as you’re watching carefully. I put the ingredients into my Blendtec, whipped for 15-20 seconds, poured the mixture into a dish, froze it, and boom. I had Low Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream.

Low Sugar Vanilla Ice CreamYum

5.0 from 3 reviews
Low Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream ~ 3 Ingredients ~ No Machine
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3 Tablespoons real maple syrup (more or less to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Blend ingredients together with a hand mixer or in a high power blender until they have thickened - but have not yet turned into stiff whipped cream. (The mixture should still be runny.)
  2. Pour mixture into a small casserole dish.
  3. Cover and freeze for about three hours.
  4. Scoop and serve right away.
  5. If ice cream is left in the freezer overnight, you may need to let it sit on the counter a few minutes before serving!

Low Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream

A key player in this recipe is Homemade Vanilla Extract. I decided “why just add one teaspoon when I could add two?” This, of course, makes the ice cream much, much better tasting. (Ironic, isn’t it, since I was just saying that you can use half the amount called for in recipes since this vanilla is so potent? Use less vanilla in this if you like, but I am loving the strong vanilla punch of two teaspoons in this vanilla ice cream!)

I learned that if you freeze this for less than 3 hours, the ice cream will be too liquidy. But if you freeze it for more than 3 hours it becomes a bit hard. The solution for “too hard” ice cream? Simply pull it out of the freezer and let it sit on the counter for about 10 minutes before serving. It’ll soften just enough for you to scoop it out.

low sugar icecream5low sugar icecream4

Want your ice cream to be not-so-low in sugar?

My kids agree. Simply add a little more maple syrup until you have reached your desired sweetness level. You might also try adding a few drops of liquid stevia.

Because we have the whole summer ahead of us, I will now spend time creating variations of this Low Sugar Homemade Ice Cream. I’m thinking peach, strawberry, chocolate, mint, chocolate mint, and whatever other ideas you have for me.

Go make yourself some ice cream!!

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing

It seems we’re starting off this week with a bit of a strawberry theme. This Strawberry Spinach Salad is a little bit different than the Strawberry Blueberry Parfaits – so feel free to eat them during the same meal.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

I’m typically a pretty boring salad maker – as if adding fruit and nuts to salad is difficult (which, of course, it is not). I blame it on the fact that I am a meat-and-potato-farm-girl at heart. I grew up eating the basics. The only way we ate pecans was in pies. Strawberries were made into jelly. And spinach? The only kind I’d heard of was the slimy canned variety – and I didn’t touch it.

Now that I’ve branched out into loving all kinds of different foods (like actual strawberries – you should try them), I figure it might be time for me to try a few different salads beyond the basic kind with mixed greens and ranch dressing. Last week, I was out of mixed greens, but had a big container of spinach and several containers of strawberries. I did a little searching and came across this, which I tweaked and made for our lunch.

It was surprisingly very tasty. (Why was I surprised? I don’t know. Because it wasn’t basic mixed greens with ranch?) The combination of roasted pecans with the strawberries with the easy-to-make dressing packs a great punch of flavor.

Look at me. I’m such a big girl now – eating salads with fruit and nuts and vinaigrette.

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Vinaigrette DressingYum

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 6 cups fresh spinach (give or take)
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, sliced into fourths
  • ¾ cup pecans
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • 2 shakes of sea salt
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, roast pecans by warming them over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Stir them frequently to keep them from scorching. (I didn't find it necessary to add any oil to the pan.)
  2. Toss the roasted pecans into a large bowl with spinach and strawberries
  3. In a jar, mix the oil, vinegar, mustard, and salt.
  4. Drizzle dressing over salad just before serving.

Isn’t it pretty?

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing

Are you brave with your salads or do you typically stick with the basics?

Americana Cheesecake Parfaits (It’s too easy)

What happens when you cross a blueberry with a strawberry with cheesecake filling? Red, white, and blue. This is what you have. Regular cheesecake parfait becomes Americana Cheesecake Parfait. Just like that, you’ve created a perfect treat for your holiday.

Strawberry Blueberry Cheesecake Parfaits

I realize it might be too late for you to do this for Memorial Day – unless you happen to have these fine ingredients already in your fridge. I once (last week) bought 18 packages of cream cheese at one time because it was on sale for $1.00 and I couldn’t help myself (obviously). Plus, I frequently bring home 12-16 pounds of berries at once when they are in season and on sale. (No one ever looks at me funny while I’m going through check-out.) Perhaps you also have a fridge full of cream cheese and berries?

If not, you can tuck this recipe away to make when you find these ingredients on sale. After all, it never hurts to make these with no holiday attached. And of course, you’ll want to remember these for the Fourth of July.

The Original Cheesecake ParfaitsYum

About this time last year, I concocted our first Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits. We have since declared this to be the best way to eat fruit. Recently we tried Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits, which are just as amazing.

chocolate cheesecake parfait

Matt and I much prefer this made with stevia. Our boys make a batch for themselves with a little sugar instead. We’ve been eating this and serving this to friends who come over pretty much constantly since berries came back in season a few weeks ago. This is a definite family favorite!

Americana Cheesecake Parfaits

4.0 from 1 reviews
Americana Cheesecake Parfaits (It's too easy)
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon real maple syrup
  • Liquid stevia to taste (I use about 20 drops) (Use a few Tablespoons of sugar if you prefer.)
  • 1 -2 pounds fresh, sliced strawberries
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients (minus the berries) into a blender.
  2. Whip until smooth and creamy.
  3. Spoon mixture into bowls or cups - layering them with blueberries and sliced strawberries.

Americana Cheesecake Parfaits

However are you remembering and celebrating this weekend?

Veggie-n-Egg Scramble ~ A Great Last Minute Meal Idea

I think this Veggie-n-Egg Scramble might become one of my favorite and most relied upon go-to meals.

Veggie and Egg Scramble

I used to make something like this years ago, but kind of forgot about it. Weird how that happens.

A few weeks ago, I needed a quick meal before we headed out to a soccer game. I didn’t have time to cook meat, but I did have a fridge full of veggies and a few dozen eggs. I called the boys into the kitchen and started throwing vegetables and knives at them. Hold on. That didn’t come out right. I didn’t throw knives at them. (Peppers maybe, but not knives.) I’m just saying I started handing out jobs and we all worked together to make this quick and nourishing meal.

Everyone started chopping until my big electric skillet looked like this:

Veggies for veggie scramble
All the veggies are good in this Veggie-n-Egg Scramble, but I will suggest that onions are a key player. Onions give this dish such amazing flavor! Sweet peppers are a close second. Broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, and spinach come next. The beauty is that you can use whatever veggies you like and whatever you have on hand.

Saute the veggies in olive oil or butter until tender. Scramble in some eggs with salt. Toss in a little cheese for extra amazingness. So much deliciousness. Very little work. Extra wonderful nourishment.

Veggie-n-Egg Scramble ~ A Great Last Minute Meal Idea
 
Author:
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • 4 cups chopped veggies (onions, sweet peppers, zucchini, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, or any others you like in any combination)
  • 3 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • sea salt to taste
  • shredded cheese to taste
Instructions
  1. Saute vegetables in oil or butter until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, crack eggs into a bowl and whip with milk.
  3. Pour egg mixture over cooked veggies and salt as you like.
  4. Scramble the eggs with the veggies until they are cooked through.
  5. Sprinkle cheese on top to melt.
  6. Serve

I at least double this for my family of 6 big eaters. Plus we serve it with fresh fruit. Buttered toast also helps fill them up. Seriously. We really do eat and keep eating at our house.

TIP: If you happen to have leftover ham or bacon – even chicken or beef – hanging out in your fridge, those would be a wonderful addition to this dish.

This meal has become one of the easiest ways to get my family to eat a big variety of veggies in one meal. It ranks right up there with Easy Noodle Stir-Fry.

Easy Veggie and Egg Scramble

Do you ever make a meal like this at your house? What veggies would you or do you include? 

It’s meals like this that make “teaching our kids about nutrition” quite natural.

P.S. It is worth noting that this dish makes it possible to feed my family very well for about $1.00 per plate. (We won’t talk about how many plates we go through during a meal…)