Ice Cream, You Scream

If I had to give up ice cream, life would simply not be nearly as much fun. Since I was a child, I have always loved, craved and needed ice cream on a regular basis.

And I need no excuse to indulge. A bad day? Bring it on. A good day, absolutely. In lieu of dinner? A bowl of ice cream.

My favorite flavor is coffee, but I have come to realize that eating the "real deal" isn't all that wise or necessary. Apologies to Ben & Jerry's, Amy's and Baskin-Robbins. 

As an ice cream afficionado, I have been seeking healthier alternatives that don't make you feel like you're missing out on authentic ice cream, but that have less fat, sugar and even no dairy. What??

So rather than you suffer through another disappointing dessert, I've suffered for you. Can you hear my violin?

Here's a few recommendations for some tasty, better-for-you-store-bought-frozen-treats, as well as a recipe to create something fabulously cold, good for you and delicious at home.

Not that I am lactose-intolerant, but too much of a good thing does have a tendency to affect me. A few months ago we tried Living Harvest's Tempt Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert. Made with hempmilk, this unbelievably delicious frozen treat is, are you ready for this? Dairy and soy-free, vegan, tree nut free, gluten-free, cholesterol free, Kosher, Non-GMO and trans-fat free.

At just 140 calories for a 1/2 cup serving with 7 grams of fat and 9 grams of sugar, believe me when I tell you this mostly organic frozen treat is fabulous! I have tried both the Coffee Biscotti and the Mint Chip and I highly recommend the Coffee Biscotti! It's so good, you'll never know it's not ice cream.

And then there's the So Delicious line of dairy-free desserts. From minis (ice cream sandwiches) to coconut milk ice cream in a pint, I love everything I've tried that this company (Turtle Mountain) makes.

But because I like to cook and control what goes into my food, there's always the option of making something yummy and healthy at home—something without chemicals or artificial ingredients and flavors. 

In honor of the very very beginning of strawberry season, I'm making strawberry frozen yogurt. This recipe comes from the extraordinarily-talented pastry chef David Lebovitz who is one of the most revered food bloggers, and certainly one of the first websites I go to when seeking something sweet and fabulous.

This recipe is super, it tastes great and is good for you! And in my ice cream obsessed world, it doesn't get much better than that.

Buen provecho!

(Note: If you don't have an ice cream/frozen yogurt maker, you can pick one up for less than $50. Mine is a Cuisinart and, after many years, has yet to let me down!)

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
Barely adapted by The Cowgirl Gourmet from David Lebovitz

Print Recipe

This is a really easy and healthy dessert to whip up and you could certainly replace the strawberries with blueberries. Depending on how sweet the fruit is determines how much sugar I use. I generally start by adding 1/4 cup over the fresh fruit and let it mascerate and create more juice. Then, once the fruit is pureed and you add the yogurt and lemon juice, taste it again to determine if you need to add another 1/4 cup of sugar or not.
Makes about 1 quart

1 pound strawberries, rinsed and hulled
2/3 cup sugar (or less, depending on how sweet the strawberries are) [I usually use just 1/2 cup]
2 teaspoons vodka or kirsch, optional (but know that alcohol does help keep it very creamy)
1 cup plain, whole milk yogurt, preferrably organic
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Slice the strawberries into small pieces. Toss in a bowl with the sugar and vodka or kirsch (if using) until the sugar begins to dissolve. (Using alcohol when making ice cream or frozen yogurt helps keep it very creamy.) Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours, stirring every so often.

Transfer the strawberries and their juice to a blender or food processor.

Add the yogurt and fresh lemon juice. Pulse the machine until the mixture is almost smooth.

If you wish, press mixture through a mesh strainer to remove any seeds, although I like the texture the seeds provide.

Chill for 1 hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Serve and enjoy!

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