Happy Summer, and a yummy, dairy-free ice cream recipe for you {Lava Flow Sherbet}

Ah, summer. So fleeting, so fantastic. I mean, seriously, I could not love summer more... and what better time (July is National ice cream month after all!) to enjoy some refreshing, creamy sherbet? 

My recent post on The Art of Simple is all about giving ice cream as gifts. I thought I'd share another flavor with you, in addition to the favorite flavor that I shared in that post. (If you're new here, thanks for clicking over. And if you'd like to stay in touch via my newsletter, you can do that by clicking here.)

I made this ice cream to take to a friend who's a new mom. She's taking a break from dairy so as I reflected on celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago, and remembered the Lava Flow drinks we drank in Hawaii, I knew just the creation I wanted to make to enjoy with my friend Sarah. 

A Lava Flow is basically a Pina Colada with a berry drizzle. I decided to blend all the flavors together to make it simple, and boy was it easy to whip up!

sherbet ingredients.jpg

Lava Flow Sherbet

makes almost 1 quart

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 cups pineapple chunks (if frozen, thaw mostly first)
  • 2 cups berries (if frozen, thaw mostly first)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon spiced rum (optional)
  • pinch of salt

Blend all ingredients together in a high powered blender until smooth. (I rinsed my frozen fruit first to help thaw it.)

Chill in fridge until nice and cold (a couple of hours or overnight is ideal).

Mix in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions, and chill in freezer.

Enjoy your tropical treat!

Sharing a bowl of homemade ice cream with a friend, along with conversation and newborn baby snuggles on a warm summer night was perfectly delightful. Just a drop in the big bucket of summer enjoyment. I hope you're enjoying this summer as well. 

Sunday Treat: Rich Berry Sherbet

rich berry sherbet When we bought our condo last winter, we didn't realize we'd be moving into such a wonderful little community. We've been getting to know our neighbors over the last six months and we feel super blessed to be surrounded with some really great young families. What does this have to do with homemade ice cream? Just simply that great neighbors means more friends to share frozen treats with of course!

Last month there was a week when we got strawberries and blackberries from my CSA (it's usually one or the other) and then when I took a trip to the local farmstand to pick up The Best Chips and Salsa Ever the owner just handed me a basket of raspberries with a smile. So with an abundance of berries in the kitchen came this delicious dessert.

My friend and neighbor Liz had a birthday that week and this seasonal treat made its way a few doors down to her place along with her gift. I adapted a recipe from David Lebovitz' book The Perfect Scoop to make my first ever batch of sherbet.

rich berry sherbet- yum!

Sunday Treat: Rich Berry Sherbet
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: nicole v. bennett
makes about 1 quart
  • 4 cups of assorted berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries or your choice!)
  • 2 cups of half and half
  • 3/4 cup of honey (adjust this as necessary depending on sweetness of berries)
  • 1 1/2 tsps freshly squeezed lemon juice (preferably Meyer)
  1. Blend together ingredients with immersion blender (or in a regular blender). Strain seeds out if you prefer.
  2. Freeze mixture in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.


rich berry sherbet 2

Blend together ingredients (4 cups of assorted berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries or your choice!), 2 cups of half and half, 3/4 cup of honey (adjust this as necessary depending on sweetness of berries), 1 1/2 tsps freshly squeezed lemon juice (preferably Meyer)) with immersion blender (or in a regular blender). Strain seeds out if you prefer.

rich berry sherbet churning

Freeze mixture in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.


Bon apètit!

Homemade springtime strawberry fro-yo

strawberry fro-yo I live in an area that's known for its strawberry growing. This is the time of year when strawberries are on sale at farm stands in abandoned dirt lots and we start getting baskets of those juicy little morsels in our CSA box every week. I may be biased but I think the berries from our farm are basically the best, although the other local growers produce pretty darn sweet ones as well. Over the years my kids have enjoyed visiting our farm for tour day and getting to go pick their own basket-full.

I just can't seem to buy a clamshell of strawberries at the grocery store, convenient as it is, when I know I can drive a few miles farther, down to my favorite farm stand, and get fresh, unsprayed berries grown just about ten miles away.

strawberries and honey

They are so sweet this time of year, that in fact, you barely need to sweeten them to use them in a dessert. I mean seriously, why waste your time with strawberry-flavored candy when the actual fruit is so. darn. sweet.

Since Friday nights are dessert night in our home, last week's basket of CSA strawberries (okay, and a couple more from the farm stand) went directly into this no-guilt treat. How no-guilt is it, you ask? Well I may or may not have served the leftovers to the family for breakfast, I'll say that.

blending strawberry fro-yo

This is definitely a spring/summer dessert. Don't bother making it when strawberries are out of season; their seasonal sweetness is what makes this so special, and why the tanginess of the yogurt is balanced out so nicely.

homemade strawberry fro-yo


Homemade Springtime Strawberry Fro-Yo

makes just over a quart

1 pound fresh strawberries, rinsed and cut up

honey to taste, under a 1/4 cup is enough

1/2 teaspoon vodka (optional)

1 cup kefir (or whole milk yogurt)

1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice (I prefer Meyer)

a nice splash of heavy cream (about a 1/4 cup)

1. Once your strawberries are rinsed and cut up, drizzle them with honey and add a bit of vodka if you desire and let them stand at room temperature and macerate for about an hour, stirring periodically.

2. Purée the strawberries, kefir, lemon juice and splash of cream in a food processor, blender or glass bowl with an immersion blender.

3. Refrigerate the mixture for an hour. Pour into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions. I thought the texture was perfect after letting it sit in the freezer for another hour or two before eating.

If there's any left, by all means, serve it for breakfast or a healthy treat. Just let it sit out on the counter for a little while before you scoop it.


What's your favorite way to eat strawberries?

The Ice Cream Party

DSC_0049 We had so much fun celebrating Gigi's fourth birthday.

Here are a few more photos from her fun backyard celebration. It was sweet and simple- the perfect combo for me.


Ice cream bowls were also snack bowls and party favors along with the felt ice cream cones {ie, no paperware or cheesy goody bags}.


Drinks for the mamas, snacks, and flowers from our yard.



Yaya and Brody.


Coloring sheets with a sweet message.


Bubbles! {Dress-up clothes were optional}.

Gigi's Ice Cream Party


The ice cream lineup {Gigi's choice}: mint chip, homemade vanilla bean, homemade strawberry buttermilk, packed in Sweet Bliss containers (love these especially for gifting ice cream).


The birthday girl!

Felt Ice Cream Craft Tutorial

Activity made at gigi's 4th bday party. Since we had an ice cream-themed 4th birthday party for Gigi {I guess a love of ice cream has been inherited by my little girlie!}, I wanted to do a couple of little activities along the same theme for her and her friends. A while back I had seen a similar idea: Rachel (from Small Notebook)'s fabulous little tutorial for a build-a-felt-cupcake activity.

Here's how I made the ice cream version.



First, I cut out enough cones for all the kiddos. I just used a surf shop sticker I had on hand as the template.


Next, I hand-drew a simple ice cream scoop shape on the back of piece of cardboard to make a template. I cute out "scoops" in a variety of colors that we deemed vanilla, french vanilla, peach, strawberry, etc.


I also cut out tiny flecks of dark brown so they could give their ice cream chocolate chips, and little red hearts that were to be used as strawberries.


My big girl was such a sweet helper, passing out supplies to her friends!

The felt "sticks" to itself as the kids build their cones, but can be repositioned and recreated an infinite number of times. I love that this activity has no mess whatsoever since it's not glued or anything.

The kids loved creating their own double scoop cones and then I sent them each home with their supplies in a baggie so they could do it again at home- love an activity that doubles as a party favor! Easy-peasy and so cute.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream {Recipe}

vanilla bean ice cream A few months ago, a friend on facebook asked for a vanilla ice cream recipe and I realized, with all the ice cream I've made, I've never made a plain vanilla. I have a go-to vanilla recipe that I've used as a base for other flavors, but hadn't made it by itself yet.

vanilla beans cooking

Maybe that's because I've never been one for vanilla much myself. But boy, is it growing on me, especially when it is flecked with those real vanilla bean specks.

I've now made this recipe a couple of times and it so creamy and delicious that it could never be called boring. The first time I made it, we had it to accompany this delicious Meyer Lemon Cake and then last week I made it again for Gigi's 4th birthday party (more coming on that soon!).

vanilla ice cream prep

This recipe is printable but if you're in an email or reader, you may need to click over to print it.

vanilla ice cream ingredients


Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

adapted from Jeni Britton makes around 1 quart


2 cups whole milk 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened (I use whipped) 1 1/4 cups heavy cream 2/3 cup sugar (organic cane juice sugar) 1 1/2 tablespoons brown rice syrup 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped pinch of salt


1. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch (adorable mini whisk optional for this step). In another large glass bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth (this is really easy with whipped cream cheese).

2. In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk with the cream, sugar, brown rice syrup and vanilla bean and seeds. Bring the milk to a boil and cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves and the vanilla flavors the milk, about 4 minutes. Take off the heat and whisk in the cornstarch mixture gradually. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is thickened, about 1 minute.

3. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Whisk in the salt. Set the bowl in an ice water bath (a larger bowl with ice water) and let stand or refrigerate until cold.

4. Strain (optional) the ice cream base into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Pack into container and freeze until firm (about 4 hours or so). Go ahead and lick the spoon, because it's darn good!


homemade vanilla bean ice cream- yum!

Simple Lemon Sorbet

lemon sorbet 3 I randomly decided that it has been entirely too long since I made or posted about homemade ice cream.

Today when organizing the freezer to find something I came across some lemon juice I froze sometime earlier this year when I had an abundance of my dad's Meyer lemons around the kitchen. I figured it was time to do something with that juice.


When I think about lemons, I think about sunny days {happy sigh}.

We're in the middle of the biggest rainstorm in five years in these parts. That's what my mom keeps telling me anyway. I'm about ready for it to be done.

Two days of carting around little ones through the rain and wind was enough to keep me in my house all day today. I don't know how you Pacific Northwesterners do it. Tomorrow should be our last rainy day and then we should have a sunny Christmas, which makes me happy.

So, back to lemons.

I would have preferred a gelato or sherbet (but I didn't have enough milk or cream on hand), but the sorbet was a good spur-of-the-moment choice-- this tart treat is still delicious even though it's not creamy! A particular lemon lover in my family just might be receiving a pint of this for Christmas!

simple lemon sorbet

Here is the recipe (you may need to click over for the printable version)...


Lemon Sorbet

from nicolevbennett.com, adapted from Emeril (foodnetwork.com)

makes about a pint and a half

  • 1 cup sugar (I use organic evaporated cane juice)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (or defrosted fresh-frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to boil (this makes simple syrup). Remove from heat, and pour into a bowl to let cool. Mix simple syrup with lemon juice and zest. Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. I let mine churn much longer than ice cream-- a good 30-40 minutes. Pour into airtight container and freeze.


lemon sorbet 2

Enjoy a little lemony taste, reminiscent of summer lemonade, right in your wintery kitchen.

Spiced Apple Ice Cream

spiced apple ice cream "If the sheer sensual joy of eating homemade ice cream is enough for you to shed your guilt [of healthism/nutritionism], throw away phony industrial foods, and return to eating real foods, all the better." ~Nina Planck, Real Food

Looking for a delightfully autumnish ice cream recipe? This one is sure to hit the spot! I modified a recipe from ReadyMade Magazine article about the book, Spice Dreams (guess I need to get a copy of that!), with Jeni's method of a no-egg custard.

After you go pick your fall apples, you'll definitely want spare some for this treat.




Spiced Apple Ice Cream

from gidgetgoeshome.com {adapted from ReadyMade Magazine} makes just over a quart


For the spiced apples:

  • 2 large apples (or 3-4 small), cored, peeled, thinly sliced, and cut into quarters (about 2 cups)
  • about 1/2 cup honey (or 2/3 cup sugar)- this can be adjusted to your taste
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

For the ice cream:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened (3 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I use organic evaporated cane juice sugar)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt

1. Combine the spiced apple ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook the apples over medium heat, stirring often, until the apples are tender and all the liquid is gone, about 10 minutes. Let the apples cool a bit and then place them in the fridge to chill.

2. Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch. In another large bowl (I used my stand mixer), whisk the cream cheese until smooth.

3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk with the cream, 1/2 c. sugar, brown rice syrup and 1/2 t. vanilla. Bring the milk mixture to a boil and cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.

4. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Whisk in the salt. Set the bowl in the ice water bath and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 20 minutes.

5. Pour the ice cream mix into an ice cream maker (strain if desired) and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Add the chilled spiced apples to to the mixture in your ice cream maker during last minute of mixing and churn until just mixed.  Pour into airtight container(s) and freeze for at least 2-4 hours.





spiced apple ice cream 2

spiced ice cream