We always say in the Midwest (possibly to make ourselves feel better) that we appreciate the summer so much more than folks who live in warm climates year-round.
How could a Californian know the joy of the first real spring day?
Could someone from the South really know the excitement of the first day that the pool is open?
As a food-allergy family, we get that same giddiness when we find somewhere we can all safely eat that isn't home.
A couple of years ago, we found an Italian ice parlor that serves a wide range of dairy-free, nut-free frozen treats that are safe for my food-allergic son and appropriate for the rest of my vegan family. They have a dedicated freezer for their Italian ices and use separate scoops so there's no cross-contamination.
Being able to take my boys for an "ice cream" on a hot day for the first time brought my husband and me to tears (though they were quickly dashed away).
Yesterday it was over 90 degrees and sunny. A perfect day for ice cream, right?
Not so much! Our Italian ice parlor is right near Wrigley Field (our historic baseball park), and we were in the middle of the Crosstown Classic when the Cubs play the White Sox. There was no way we were going anywhere near there!
What could we do instead? Make our own Italian ice. Not only is it vegan and allergy-friendly, it is refined-sugar-free. And, my boys got an extra serving of fruit for their dessert, all the while knowing they had helped create a vividly colored, tart yet sweet, refreshing treat!
Before the recipe, though, I want to let you know what we'll be having for Meatless Monday -- a taco bar with all the fixings! Everyone has fun when they can choose what to add to their own custom taco.
Strawberry Lemonade Italian Ice
Makes 4 generous servings
Juice of 6 lemons
2/3 pounds strawberries, hulled
2 cups melon chunks (I used musk melon, but honeydew would work well, too.)
3 tablespoons agave nectar
Puree all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. (I used my Vita-Mix.)
Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.
(If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can freeze the mixture in a freezer-safe dish. Every half hour, scrape the mixture with a fork to keep it fluffy.)
I shared this recipe with the Chillin' and Grillin' Event and Wellness Weekend, Healthy Vegan Fridays, Allergy Friendly Friday, Allergy Free Wednesdays, and Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.
Find more tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes.