… Never Dilute Your Smoothies and Shakes Again!
One of my pet peeves has been solved. What’s a pet peeve? You know, when something strikes a nerve with you. Whatever it is, it isn’t usually a big deal or anything that someone else might really care so much about, but it bugs you. And sometimes you just can’t seem to let it go. Well, I’ve fixed one of my pet peeves. And I’m thinking that this just might fix one of yours too (even if you didn’t know this bugged you until you came across this thought-provoking post).
My pet peeve? When the ice cubes I add to a smoothie or shake start to water down or dilute the drink I’m trying to enjoy (even when they’re blended right into the drink). It becomes a problem, right? I can’t drink this slushy, creamy, frozen drink too fast or I’ll encounter one of those dreaded – and oh so painful – ice cream headaches. Can you feel it just thinking about them? Yeah, they’re crazy no-fun. I know they only last for a few seconds, but it’s too long, in my opinion. But if I allow that glass of frozen indulgence to sit and come (a bit) more to room temperature, then the whole thing starts to get watered down. I hate that! Okay, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, but this is my pet peeve, so I think I’m entitled.
But now I can say “bye-bye” to my pet peeve (at least one of them). Oh, I still require my gluten-free, dairy-free fruit smoothies and non-dairy shakes to be very cold, smooth, and indulgently slushy, but I achieve this result without ice. The solution is SO simple. In fact many of you may already do this, but I’ve been surprised when talking to people and sharing my solution that so many of them sound surprised and think this is such a great idea.
So what’s solved my pet peeve for good, you ask? I make “ice cubes” out of non-dairy milk. (Yeah, I know you already knew that from the title of this post, but it’s so basic that I had to do a build-up.) I simply dedicate one of my plastic ice cube trays to whatever milk substitute I fancy for upcoming recipes. Sometimes it’s unsweetened almond milk, or unsweetened coconut milk, but hemp milk, rice milk, and even soy milk would probably work well (but we don’t use soy so I honestly haven’t tried it).
There’s another GREAT reason, less pet-peevish, for making non-dairy milk ice cubes. They provide extra protein, calcium, vitamins, and nutrients to your drinks. AND they can stand in for frozen fruit, making them a perfect substitution if you’re more interested in smoothies and shakes with lower sugar, less carbohydrates, or fewer calories. Or you can certainly do a part fruit/part frozen milk combination, all still in the name of healthy and delicious frozen drinks.
Each standard ice cube tray makes 16 cubes. Each cube equals approximately one tablespoon. So one cup of non-dairy milk will make you 16 cubes of perfect frozen joy.
Here’s a bonus idea: Freeze well-blended canned coconut milk in ice cube trays. You can use these cubes in your frozen drinks, of course, for an even more luscious texture, but these can also be used to thicken a creamy dairy-free soup recipe, heat them into a white sauce for an extra thick, rich texture – as is desired when making mac and cheese or fettuccine alfredo, or include them as a substitute for cream or half and half in recipes such as dairy-free quiche and tarts. I love making frozen coconut milk cubes because I don’t always want to use a large quantity of canned coconut milk, and these cubes can be used in whatever portion I need. I don’t end up with a partially used can of milk sitting in my fridge waiting for the next opportune moment a recipe calls for that something special. (Note: Canned coconut milk requires more freezer time. They’ll look frozen but the center might still be liquid for a few hours. I chill them overnight to avoid a mess when releasing them from the tray.)
Happy frozen joy to you!
Non-Dairy Milk Ice Cubes
Prep time: less than five minutes
Freezer time: at least a couple of hours (more for canned coconut milk)
Makes: 16 cubes, equal to about 2 cups when thawed
2 cups non-dairy milk of your choice
Pour the milk into the ice cube tray sections as evenly as possible. Freeze until solid. Use as needed for smoothies, shakes, sauces, etc.
Safe food is a journey … Thrive!™
*This recipe was first shared on DailyForage.com and has also been shared on Gluten Free Fridays #132 at VegetarianMamma.com.
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