Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker
I have wanted an ice cream maker since I was a kid. Seriously. I know, I know, you can just buy a pint of ice cream at any corner store… but I like a challenge. So you can imagine my glee when I got to take the Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker ($30) for a spin (literally) this summer — and found it easy to use.
Just mix together your ingredients — the machine comes with a bunch of recipes in the manual — and 20 to 40 minutes later, the entire family is enjoying delicious, creamy, homemade ice cream. No cranking, no rock salt. Just turn it on, pour in the ingredients, and you’re good to go. Sure, the noise might drown out your dinner music, but it’s worth it!
The biggest convenience is that you can control exactly what goes into your kids’ ice cream. Organic? Easy. Less sugar? No problem. Fresh fruit, maple syrup, nuts … whatever you want to add to keep your ice cream healthier is up to you. And ultimately, it’s cheaper, too. Turns out kid-me was really onto something!
Hamilton Beach Ice Shaver
Back in the day, if you didn’t have a Snoopy Sno-Cone Maker, your friend certainly did. (And you wished you had one.) Well, the Hamilton Beach Ice Shaver ($30) is like a grown-up version of that very thing. It’s simple to use, inexpensive, and — if your kids are anything like mine — you’ll be using it daily. Just pop in some plain ice cubes and start the machine. Seconds later, shaved ice lands in the mixing bowl and you can choose what to add to it (we use fresh juice in my house). Yum!
Cuisipro Scoop & Stack
Here’s a nifty way to have a little fun with all that ice cream you’ll be making. The Cuisipro Scoop & Stack ($15) is a funky way to serve up the cold stuff this summer. It creates cylindrical blocks of ice cream that are perfect for stacking or decorating. Your kids will love the push-button release as they drop perfectly shaped stacks of ice cream into their bowls. Who knew frozen treats could get any more fun?
When all is said and done, there’s something about a classic ice pop that is just so summer. There are lots of fun-looking ice-pop molds out there, including these girly Tovolo Freezer Gems Popsicle Molds ($10 ) . For nostalgia, there’s the classic Tupperware ($19.50) mold. And for the best deal, the Solig IKEA molds ($2) fit the bill. I’ve been using a version of these for my kids and we always enjoy them. Easy popsicle tip: Try pureeing some fresh summer fruit and mixing it with yogurt for a yummy and healthy frozen treat.
— Stephanie, crunchy, urban Canadian mama to a 4-year-old contrarian son and a 1-year-old philosopher daughter who loves all things green, gadgety and glam.