Can Ice Cream Be Healthy?

healthy homemade ice creamJust about every kid loves ice cream. And while it is never going to be the healthiest of treats, there are things that you can do to improve its overall nutritional value. By making your own ice cream at home you can control what goes into the finished product. You can use sugar-free or reduced fat ingredients that can make it a little less of a unhealthy indulgence and still provide your kids something that they will enjoy.

To get started, it is best to pick up an electric ice cream maker. These are not all that expensive, and they are a great little investment into your child’s happiness and health. Some of the top rated home ice cream machines can be purchased for around $40 or $50. Not only are they rather affordable, but they are also simple to use and it is something that your kids will definitely enjoy participating in.

Ingredients

This is where you can oversee the production of the ice cream and you can use some healthier alternatives in various recipes. Fat free or reduced fat creams and milks, sugar free syrups, and even fresh fruits can be used to make something that will still tastes sweet and delicious.

Having your own machine also is great for experimentation. You and the kids can try endless different ice cream recipes or you can still with the traditional chocolate or vanilla. But having an ice cream maker in your kitchen offers you the ability to produce anything you want.

Recipes

Below are just a couple of recipes that you can try at home. These are not exactly great for the diet, but with a little ingredient manipulation you can make them to be as healthy as you choose.

Vanilla Caramel Cookie Ice Cream

This recipe is wonderfully creamy without the use of eggs. It strikes an utterly delicious and irresistible balance between sweet and salty flavors. It is one of those ice creams that everyone loves. It is made from a few simple ingredients. However, the base has an incredibly silky and rich texture. So for your perfect scoop, first you need to prepare the caramel sauce.

Heat 1 cup of sugar in a large pan.

Stir until it begins to melt.

Then cook, until it turns into a dark amber color. Add 1 cup of heavy cream, until all the caramel has dissolved.

Then remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.

Allow it to cool down.

For the ice cream base, take a large bowl. Whisk together, 1 cup of whole milk, 3/4 cups of granulated sugar until it is dissolved completely. Add 2 cups of heavy cream and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Pour this into your ice cream maker’s freezer bowl. Allow it to run for 15 minutes. Add in the caramel sauce, and 1 cup of coarsely chopped vanilla cookies. Allow it to run for another 10 minutes. Transfer this mixture to a container. Place it in your freezer for about 5 hours to completely firm up. Serve chilled- fast, easy, delicious, and absolutely fantastic!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream

It is packed with sweet, rich cream, a fragrant splash of dark chocolate, and some crunchy chocolate cookies. This classic recipe is a large crowd pleaser. Additionally, it is one of the easiest flavors to make at home. The crushed up chocolate cookies and additional bits make it extremely delectable.

To prepare it, take a large bowl. Combine 2 cups of heavy cream, 1 cup of whole milk, and 2/3 cups of granulated sugar.

Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and mix well. Transfer the mixture to a large pan. Heat over medium flame until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Add 1/2 cup of dark chocolate and mix well. Next, pour the mixture into your ice cream maker. Allow it to run for 20 minutes. Next, place the chocolate cookies into a gallon size plastic bag.

With the help of a rolling pin, break up the cookies.

Store the pieces in the freezer. Next, freeze your ice cream maker, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

When it is nearly finished freezing, pour the frozen pieces of chocolate cookies in your machine. Allow it to mix thoroughly. When it is done, add some chocolate chips.

Then store it in an air tight container. Allow it to freeze for about 4 hours. Serve chilled- citrus, chocolate chips, yummy, and, of course, chocolaty!

Keep It Simple

With a little ingredient control, and just the right amount of sweetness, your kids can have a great tasting frozen delight that is not as bad for them as store bought ice cream.  There are tons of yummy ice cream recipes online that you can kids can prepare in your own home.  You can reduce the fat and the sugar and still provide something that they will go nuts for.

Fast and Healthy Toaster Oven Recipes

preparing healthy pizza in a toaster ovenThe journey to health starts in the kitchen. Now, there are more than a few kitchen appliances that can help you in your quest for preparing healthy food. None of them, however, are as versatile as a toaster oven. Even though the name might suggest it, a toaster oven does much more than handle slices of bread. It can be an indispensable kitchen appliance because it can be used to prepare a variety of different healthy yet tasty meals. From baked fish to oil-free kebabs there are absolutely no shortages of healthy recipes that you can cook using this versatile machine. To help you get started, following are 3 toaster oven recipes that are both healthy and tasty.

Greek Frittata

Frittatas are amazingly tasty and packs in a whole lot of protein, vitamins, and minerals. They are not that difficult to prepare and serve as a great breakfast option. The great thing about the dish is that it contains healthy amounts of veggies. It presents the spinach, scallions, and tomatoes in a way that they are not just palatable but are downright delicious. Here’s what you need to do to make Greek frittata at home.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 2 ounces of baby spinach
  • 4 ounces of crumbled Feta cheese
  • 2 thinly sliced scallions
  • a pint of halved baby tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon of freshly crushed black pepper
  • 5 large eggs

Preparation:

The first thing you need to do is preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Now you need to add the olive oil in a casserole and put it inside the oven. Let it simmer in the heat for about 5 minutes. While that happens, start whisking the eggs in a bowl along with salt and pepper. Make sure that the salt and pepper are mixed consistently before adding all the veggies and then stir some more. Add the cheese to the mixture and keep stirring it gently. Now, all you need to do is take out the casserole out of the oven and pour in the entire mixture. Bake it for about 20 to 25 minutes. A perfect fFrittata should be nice and brown around the edges and should rise up ever so slightly.

Roasted Asparagus

If you are tired of having bland-tasting salad every day, then this recipe is for you. The recipe is very simple to make and serves as a great snack. It can even be served as a side dish along with grilled meat.

Ingredients:

  • 8 Stalks of fresh asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • few pinches of freshly ground black pepper
  • a couple of slices of lemon

Preparation:

Start off by preheating the oven to 425 degrees. Wash the stalks thoroughly and wait till they are completely dry. Put the uncut stalks of asparagus on the toaster oven tray and then drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil on top. The reason we are sticking with extra virgin is because it gives the asparagus a much smoother taste and the oil itself is much healthier than regular olive oil. Roast the bunch for about 15 minutes turning them once around the half way point. Once done, sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on top. Serve alongside the lemon slices.

Whole Wheat Pizza

Eating healthy doesn’t always mean you have to give up having your favorite food and settle for bland meals. Pizza is everyone’s favorite. Unfortunately, there is no debating the fact that traditional pizzas bought from neighborhood corners are starchy, oily, and generally unhealthy. However, you can easily prepare a healthier version at home that’s just as tasty using your trusted toaster oven. A simple switch to whole wheat pita bread from traditional white bread pizza bases lowers the calorie count and increases the amount of fiber. Here’s what you need to do.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Whole wheat pita breads
  • Half of a medium sized onion
  • 1 medium sized tomato
  • one half yellow pepper
  • 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • sugar-free pizza sauce

Preparation:

Dice the onion, tomatoes, and pepper. Put the pita bread inside the oven to make it slightly warm. Once warm, spread half a tablespoon of sauce on the bread. Take half of the veggies and sprinkle them on top. Top if off with ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese. Now the pizza is ready to go inside the oven. Keep it in the heat until the cheese melts.

Get Yourself a Toaster Oven

We understand that it is hard to find the time to cook, especially when you have to look after little kids.  It is much easier to just go through the drive-thru and order a kids meal.  But the top ranked toaster ovens in 2015 offer users a quick and easy way to prepare a home cooked meal all while saving money.  If you do not have one of these small appliances then it is worth looking into buying one.  Current countertop ovens are a terrific way to treat your family to healthy and nourishing meals without slaving over a hot stove or full sized oven.  A toaster oven is well worth the investment for delicious tasting dishes that your kids will actually enjoy.