I took a break from cleaning out my house (I’m determined to go through every nook and cranny this summer!) to make a celebratory dessert. It’s almost the 4th of July after all, and the holiday isn’t complete without homemade ice cream. Funny story – when Rob and I got married, some sweet soul gave us an ice cream maker as a gift. I remember being so excited unwrapping it, as I thought it was such a unique gift. Growing up, my family was known to make homemade ice cream only a few times, on very special occasions. It was one of my favorite memories as a kid, and I distinctly remember how much better homemade cream tastes than any store bought version I’ve ever tried. Since we had just gotten married and essentially were starting our own family, I was very excited to begin this same tradition.
However, when I first got married, I made nothing homemade!! My best versions of homemade anything involved many cans of cream of chicken soup (or mushroom or celery…) mixed with frozen veggies, layered with other packaged or frozen foods, and topped with the magic ingredient – lots of CHEESE – to form some type of casserole. So, needless to say, despite my enthusiasm over our ice cream maker, it was NEVER used.
Rob laughed every time we moved (before having kids) from apartment to apartment because I would insist on bringing this huge ice cream maker, still in the box. Rob and I are the opposite of hoarders – we’re purgers – almost to a fault. So finally, when we moved right before Ben was born (Kayley was almost 2), he talked me into pitching the ice cream maker and my dreams of our family making homemade ice cream together.
I think it was the VERY next Christmas that my sweet mom (who had forgotten or maybe never knew? that we pitched our ice cream maker) bought me another one for Christmas!! Rob could barely contain himself as I opened the gift.
But this time around, I use my ice cream maker all the time. And I’m surprised how easy these ice cream makers are to use!! And how few ingredients are required! Only 4 for this recipe. No ice cream from a store is that pure, and that is why I love to make my own foods, whether it’s bread, juice, milk, kefir, or granola, I can always make my own without so many added ingredients. And fresher and healthier too.
I believe that good health starts in your gut. Without a healthy gut, you are unable to break down and absorb needed nutrients from your food, and the lining of your gut can become compromised. Many things can contribute to a compromised gut lining, one being an imbalance in healthy gut flora and yeast or candida. A compromised lining of your gut – also called leaky gut – leads to larger particles of not quite broken down food absorbing from your gut into your bloodstream, where they travel throughout your system. Your body doesn’t much like those unrecognizable particles of food and can alert the immune system that something isn’t right. This leads to inflammation throughout your body. One of the best things your can do for your gut is to build your intestinal flora up strong and healthy. One of my favorite foods to do this with is kefir.
I started making my own kefir a while back, and like so many things, I’m surprised at how easy it is. Because I avoid dairy, I rotate my kefir grains between whole milk (their favorite) and coconut milk (what I like to drink). I used coconut milk kefir for this recipe. Just in case you aren’t into making your own kefir, substitute So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk.
In an effort to be festive, I started by washing some different red and blue berries. Next, I mixed together the coconut kefir, maple syrup (honey works well too), vanilla extract, and raw cacao powder in a large mixing bowl. After quickly assembling my ice cream maker (mine is a Cuisinart), I poured the chocolate coconut kefir mixture into it and turned it on. About 30 minutes later, ice cream formed, and I layered my berries with scoops of chocolate coconut kefir ice cream. Healthy, festive, EASY, and delicious!
- seasonal berries
- 4 cups coconut milk kefir or So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk
- ½ - ⅔ cup maple syrup, to taste (or honey)
- ¼ cup raw cacao powder
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Make sure your ice cream maker bowl is frozen, waiting in the freezer.
- Wash berries and gently pat dry.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together coconut milk kefir, maple syrup, cacao powder, and vanilla extract.
- Assemble ice cream maker, pour the chocolate coconut kefir mixture into the ice cream maker bowl, and turn it on.
- After ice cream forms, serve with seasonal berries.