Dreamy Strawberry Rice Milk Ice Cream

Usually I only make ice cream for birthday celebrations in our house, but after a few weeks of living dairy free, I began to crave the stuff.   I was literally dreaming about eating ice cream. Spoonfuls and spoonfuls of delicious forbidden ice cream.  I searched the Web for recipes that used rice milk but couldn’t  find exactly what I needed.  I found several for soy ice creams, but soy was also on our “No Eat List.”   I began trying to piece together recipes and ice cream making techniques to come up with something both delicious and safe for us to eat.

To make a good rice milk ice cream I had several challenges to overcome.  First, rice milk does not contain the fat that real cream has.  That fat creates the smoothness on your tongue and helps it from becoming a hard block of ice in the freezer.  I decided to make a custard based ice cream (uses eggs yolks) to compensate for the lack of fat in the rice milk and hopefully make for a richer mouth feel.  Also I didn’t want the ice cream to taste just  like frozen rice milk.  My taste buds needed something new.   I had a bag of frozen strawberries in the freezer leftover from our trips to strawberry fields in the summer and decided to put them to use.

After assembling the custard I poured the mix into my electric Cusinart ice cream maker and let it churn away.  I’ll admit I couldn’t wait for the machine to finish.  When it reached a thick soft serve consistency and started rolling up near the opening at the top of the machine,  my spoon went in for a quick bite.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Smooth, sweet and full of lovely strawberry flavor.  Ohhhh so good!  I think ice cream is its best right out of the churn but this ice cream froze well too.  Granted it didn’t stay as soft as commercial ice cream  but it didn’t turn into an ice block either.

Unfortunately very shortly after this ice cream success we began to suspect rice as one of Colin’s food triggers.  No more rice milk for me.  So until we are sure about rice being safe  or he hopefully grows out of this, I’ll keep this recipe filed away to make some day in the future.  Until then, I’ll have to share a scoop with the sandman.

Strawberry Rice Milk Ice Cream

Ingredients

2 cups rice milk- I used Rice Dream Vanilla

1 tablespoon arrowroot starch or corn starch

5 large egg yolks

2/3 cup granulated white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup strawberries fresh or frozen (defrosted)

Directions

Pour 1 ¾ cups rice milk into a medium sauce pot and heat over medium- high until it begins to simmer.  In a small bowl thoroughly mix the remaining ¼ cup rice milk with the arrowroot starch or cornstarch.  Stir the arrowroot mixture into the simmering rice milk.  Cook for a few minutes until the rice milk has slightly thickened.  Keep the milk at a low simmer so it is ready for the next step.

Meanwhile  in a bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy.  I used a wire whisk and beat it like crazy for about two minutes.  A stand mixer would also work for this step and would save your arms.   Now slowly pour the hot thickened rice milk into the whipped egg yolk mixture a few tablespoons at a time, making sure you keep whisking constantly so the eggs don’t curdle.  As the egg mixture warms up you can increase the amount of hot rice milk you are adding in and continue until all the rice milk is incorporated into the egg mixture.  The reason for the slow mixing process is you don’t want to make scrambled eggs by heating the eggs too fast.  However,  if any small lumps do form,  you can strain the mixture at the end.

Place the egg and milk mixture back in the pot and cook on medium, stirring constantly until the custard thickens enough that it coats the back of a spoon (170 degrees F).  I do check mine with a thermometer to make sure the eggs are cooked.

Immediately take the custard off the heat but continue to stir it for a few minutes so it does not overcook.  If you have lumps in the custard now is the time to pour the mixture through a strainer.  If you don’t see any lumps, no need to strain.  Now stir in the vanilla extract and the strawberry sauce (puree). I let it cool and then put it in a ziplock bag and chill thoroughly.   Once it is cold you are ready to process it in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once made, transfer the ice cream to a chilled container and store in the freezer.

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Windmill Arms

The first few weeks after Colin was born were spent settling in and learning how to care for two children.  Much of my attention was focused on learning Colin’s language.  He was communicating his needs and preferences with his whole little body,  it was just a matter of me figuring out what he was trying to tell me.

We saw right away that Colin is usually a very happy little guy.  The second day we were home Colin smiled at me.  You might tell me it was gas but he has been smiling every day since then.  Really!  These smiles make my day, every day.

We noticed that Colin was a baby that spit up a lot. Having previously had a child with bad acid reflux, this didn’t bother us too much since Colin didn’t seem too upset about it.   We joked about him leaking a lot.  If you laid him down, milk always leaked out of him.  You never started a diaper change without a burp rag at hand.  Sleep wasn’t great due to the spitting up, but babies don’t sleep well, right?

We also noticed that when Colin was fussy he would arch his back and his arms would be out at his sides going in circles.  We called these his “windmill arms” even though “twin-engine Cessna arms” may have been more accurate.  We’d see those hands start going and know it was going to be a tough afternoon and night of fussiness.   For a while I thought this was just how he told us he was getting tired but later realized these coincided with the worst spit up episodes.

Somewhere around 4-5 weeks old Colin’s diaper was green and full of mucous.  I didn’t remember ever seeing green with Colin’s older sister and it concerned me.   I read all the baby books I could find and some said it was no big deal and some mentioned possible food allergies.  (And so began our obsession over what was going on in his diaper.  On any given day there is at least one gathering of all family members at Colin’s changing table to see what is going on in there.)  Our pediatrician thought it might be a lingering side effect of having a cold when he was three weeks old or a possible food sensitivity. He said we could try giving up dairy. So, goodbye cheese!  Arrivederci delicious cream pastas!

As I began removing dairy, even the hidden little sneaky bits in any packaged foods, we saw the number of spit up episodes improve dramatically.  Woohoo!  Less laundry! I traded my dairy for soy products but Colin’s diaper stayed stubbornly green and those windmill arms were waving at us almost every night.  I could see he was uncomfortable and  I became determined to figure out what was going on in my son’s little belly.

Food Protein Induced Enteropathy

I am a stay at home mom to two wonderful, adorable spunky little ones, Hannah (3) and Colin (3 months).    Our life is not terribly exciting  to the outside observer but my hope is that if I can help one other family out there with this blog then I am happy I shared our story.

Our son, Colin has been diagnosed with Food Protein Induced Enteropathy at three months old.  It has been challenging and a huge learning experience so far and we are just getting started.

It has been hard finding information on this, even our doctor got the medical book out to read it to us, but here is what we think we know so far:

Food Protein Induced Enteropathy is a food allergy that affects the intestines but is different from regular allergies.  It is a non-IgE-mediated disorder so unlike a peanut allergy for instance, skin prick testing most people are familiar with would show up as negative.  It is more like celiac disease.  It usually shows up in the first months of life with diarrhea, vomiting, and/or failure to thrive. Most commonly is is caused by reactions to milk and soy but egg, wheat, rice, chicken and fish can also be triggers. Colin seems to have some other foods that bother him as well, so not sure how that fits.  Children with this can grow out of it, usually by age two or three.  It is similar to but less severe than Food Protein Induced Entercolitis  (FPIES).  Children with Food Protein Enteropahty usually have less vomiting, no bloody diarrhea and less severe reactions to the problem foods.

Diagnosing:  There is no one magic test to diagnosis this.  Most commonly it is discovered when the symptoms appear, other causes are ruled out and the elimination of trigger foods alleviate the symptoms.

Treatment:  For us the treatment involves discovering the trigger foods and trying to eliminate them from my diet since I am breastfeeding.  Since Colin is growing so well our doctor believes breastmilk is doing him a lot of good and is a better choice than the specialized formula he would need if I stop breastfeeding.   In 6 months or so we might try to re-introduce foods or “challenge” them by feeding small amounts and then increasing the dose while watching for reactions.