Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Effortless Entertaining: Beating the Heat with a Last Minute Ice Social

As a participant in the Walmart to Go First program, I’ve received a personal invite and payment for my time and efforts in creating this post.

Convenience and ice cream don't go together when you're allergic to cow's milk. If you want any flavor other than chocolate or vanilla, you're often left to your own devices to make it. So, you can imagine how excited I was when I discovered Walmart To Go had all of the base ingredients for gluten-free, vegan ice cream, in stock and ready to deliver to my door.
 

IngredientsforPineapplePistachioBasilIceCreamandStrawberryBasilIceCream_VeganGlutenFree

 

Have you thrown an ice cream social before?
 

In the past I've made gluten-free, vegan ice cream using my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. Sometimes it would come out rich and creamy, and other times with an odd texture and little flavor. This time I decided to abandon my ice cream maker and freeze my ice cream in a stainless steel bowl and taking it out of the freezer and blending with a hand mixer and refreezing for a few hours. And... it worked like a charm.
 

Pineapple Pistachio Basil Ice Cream

 

Turns out there are two secrets in making ice cream: 1) how quickly you freeze your ice cream mixture and 2) how long you whip your ice cream to break down ice crystals. If you're strapped for time (and seriously who isn't?), an ice cream maker is your best friend. The main caveat is to keep the ice maker in a cool room (not your kitchen when you're preparing a meal on the stove). The other great thing about the following recipe is that you can make it anywhere--almost every vacation rental I've ever stayed in has a blender, a freezer, and a mixer, which means you can surprise everyone with homemade ice cream.
 

Recipe: Pineapple Pistachio Basil Ice Cream

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total Time: 6 hours; 10 minutes prep, at least 3 hours freezing time, 15 minutes whipping frozen mixture
  • Yield: 8 servings

 

Individual Servings of Vegan Gluten-Free Pineapple Pistachio Basil Ice Cream in Easy to Transport Jars

 

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces (1 bag), Frozen pineapple, defrosted and brought to room temperature, drained
  • 2 1/4 cups Coconut milk
  • 3 teaspoons Agave
  • 3 Tablespoons Pistachios
  • 3/4 cup, Fresh basil leaves, roughly torn and loosely packed
  • 1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt flakes
  • (Optional) 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (about half of a medium lime)
Two Servings of Pineapple Pistachio Basil Ice Cream in Vintage Compote Dishes Vegan Gluten-Free Pineapple Pistachio Basil IceCream in Vintage Compote Dishes

 

Instructions

  1. Add defrosted and drained pineapple chunks to blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Add coconut milk and agave. Blend until well incorporated.
  3. Add basil leaves, Maldon sea salt flakes, and lime juice. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour mixture into a wide, shallow stainless steel bowl and cover. (You'll want to use a metal container as you're trying to freeze the ice cream as quickly as possible to ensure a smooth consistency.) Place in freezer for thirty minutes.
  5. Remove ice cream from freezer and beat with a hand held electric mixer until smooth. Return to the freezer for another thirty minutes.
  6. Repeat step 5, three times. You may be tempted to skip this process, don't. Coconut milk has more water content than milk; this means ice crystals are more likely to form. This step adds air to the mixture and breaks up any ice crystals that may be forming.
  7. At three hours freezing time, check the consistency of the ice cream. If it's soft serve consistency, it is ready to eat. Serve immediately. If it's still runny, freeze for an additional two hours and check again.

If you're planning on having your ice cream social at a park or in a garden, this recipe is perfect. Freeze your ice cream overnight. About two hours before you want to serve the ice cream, remove it from the freezer and place on ice or into your ice chest. 

Getting Your Ingredients Delivered to Your Door

As you may know I'm a huge fan of grocery delivery services. I was excited to learn Walmart To Go was offered in my neighborhood. Unlike Google Shopping Express, Walmart To Go offers sundries as well as fresh fruit and vegetables and frozen items.
 

Each service charges a delivery fee, so it's in your best interest to consolidate your shopping into as few virtual shopping carts as possible and with as few services as possible. I'd hoped that like Google Shopping Express, I could get same day service. In the San Francisco Bay Area, this didn't appear possible. Each time I tried scheduling the service, I was looking at a three to five day lag time if I didn't want to rearrange my schedule. This may improve as the service becomes more widespread.
 

If you're hosting (or planning on hosting) an ice cream social, schedule the ingredients you need to be delivered two weeks before your event. This ensures you have everything you need in case they're out of a specific ingredient (frozen mango for example) or don't have convenient times for delivery. As long as you don't need an item the same day, I'd recommend using Walmart To Go. Sign up for Walmart To Go and give it a try yourself.
 

In terms of value, Walmart can't be beat when it comes to some of my favorite organic brands, Amy's, Earthbound Farms Organic, and Wild Oats Organic, as well as foods free of preservatives or high fructose corn syrup.
 

I don't know about you, but I can always use the gift of more time. If you're in the San Francisco area, I highly recommend signing up for Walmart To Go First - VIP Experience. You'll find many of your favorite brands and have the ability to plan deliveries more than a few days in advance (a benefit over Google Shopping Express which only lets you order a day in advance) and to specify a two hour delivery window. Also neat is the ability to see times when the delivery truck is in your neighborhood for another order so that you have the option to reduce trips and carbon emissions. Be sure to share how you use Walmart To Go if you sign up. I'm always looking for tips on how to optimize meal planning.
 

genuinely eden

Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.

Disclosures: I received a voucher in exchange for trying out Walmart To Go #WalmartToGo. All opinions presented are my own.

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Thank you for taking the time to join the conversation. - Eden

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