In the kitchen with…Lissa

Yes, me. Nothing wrong with that, right? Good.

Y’all know how I love to cook and be in the kitchen. It’s one of my great passions, and well, I have several…

I’ve found that cooking is something that relaxes me and is a creation of something pleasurable (one hopes…LOL), something meant to please and fulfill a need, to make someone happy. And yes, I do believe food should make us happy. I don’t think it should be a chore or something that we simply do because we have to stay alive. No, it should be pleasurable, good, real food. The Italians and French have it right. They savor their food. They delight in it. They take their time over it…both cooking and eating. It should make you smile and not stress you out. It doesn’t even have to be complex. Honestly, some of the best foods are simple.

My husband is right now, thanks to so many diet changes for him, only borderline diabetic. His blood glucose count is nearly normal to where diabetes isn’t even considered. We’ve adjusted the diet enough to help him overcome the issues he was having. He’ll stay on a low sugar, whole grain, lean protein way of eating to keep the blood sugars where they need to be, he’ll continue exercising to maintain the 20lbs loss. But it’s taken 2 years to get everything under this kind of control for him.

I use a lot of recipes from Cooking Light. Not so much Weight Watchers, though. In a lot of the research I’ve done on food and processing, reduced fat, fat-free, processed, artificial isn’t what I want to go with. I’ve also found that when I consume artificial sweeteners, I get more migraines. We’ve tried Truvia and Stevia and while DH will use them at home if I make him, he prefers the taste of Splenda more. I have also found that natural sugars like honey, maple syrup and minimally processed sugars like Sucanat do not negatively affect him nearly as much as plain white sugar. Yes, sugar is sugar, but we’ve experimented with them all enough to know that different ones affect blood sugar in different ways.

So, let’s talk ice cream…

I haven’t found a good sugar free homemade ice cream recipe yet, so I still buy sugar free and no sugar added ice cream for him when he’s craving it. I was in the store yesterday looking at ingredients. Most ice creams (unless the label says ‘All Natural’) have multiple ingredients I can’t pronounce and in regular ice cream, they have not only sugar, but corn syrup as well? Why? Why do you need both? Ice cream is milk, cream, sugar, flavor (vanilla, lemon, strawberry, etc…) Why do you need to add anything to it? Some of it is synthetic. Some of it isn’t. It’s all additives and preservatives giving products longer shelf (or freezer life in this case), smoother texture, and in some cases fiber where there wasn’t any before. So, if there can be All Natural ice cream in the grocery store freezers, why do we need to have not All Natural ice creams in the freezers? Just one of my curious questions…

I, actually though, prefer homemade ice cream and my husband does too so as soon as I find a good sugar-free or no-sugar added recipe for homemade ice cream, I’ll be trying it out for him. I remember sitting on my grandparent’s back porch in the evenings in summer and they’d get the ice cream maker out with all the ingredients…including the rock salt and we’d take turns churning the ice cream while talking and visiting. Neighbors would come over, some with fruit, some with pound cake slices. It’s one of my fondest memories growing up.

Homemade ice cream is amazing. There are different styles… custard which uses eggs and non-custard which uses cream, milk, sugar, and whatever flavor you want.

I make it every couple of weeks. I have a Cuisinart Ice Cream maker… You can make frozen yogurt, sorbet, sherbert, and ice cream in it…

I also have an ice cream cookbook called The Perfect Scoop because it came highly recommended, but I am looking into others just for variety. My brother liked the homemade vanilla bean ice cream I made at Thanksgiving so well, that he went out and bought one of these ice cream makers and now makes all kinds of homemade ice creams for his family. His favorite was the vanilla he made with fresh berries in it. I thought that was really cool.

I even found a recipe the other day for homemade Dippin’ Dots! Can’t wait to try it…

So, with summer coming…what are some of your favorite summertime cool-down treats?

~lissa