Ice cream for breakfast (and a recipe for sorbet)

Ice cream 2Happy Labor Day! Happy Labour Day!

Since today is the last day of summer (school starts tomorrow here) I took the kids for ice cream for breakfast* with Jen and her girls and Jen's sister and her boys**. 

Some of you are cringing, and some of you are thinking you're going to do that next year.

I've been thinking about the kinds of food rules we make for ourselves, our kids, and our households. What do you eat? What do you not let yourself eat? Are those things the same things your kids eat? Do they eat things you don't, and vice versa?

I've realized that I'm way more disordered with myself than I am with my kids. I tend toward almost all whole foods, but then have big spurts of eating just way too much processed crap. I tend to be more moderate and measured with what my kids eat, with no big deviations. They eat more processed stuff on a day-to-day basis than I do (bread and crackers, mostly), but they also don't seem to go on wild splurges like I do. (Bear in mind that I'm only feeding them 3-4 days a week and then they're at their dad's, so it's easier to be more nutritious consistently when I'm only doing half a week. By the time it becomes a grind I'm done for a few days.)

What are your food rules?


While you're thinking about them, I'll leave you with a recipe I made up a few years ago:

Piña Colada Sorbet

You'll need an ice cream maker, or else you can do that trick of pouring it into a baking pan, freezing until slushy, then stirring up to whip some air into it. But it works better with an ice cream machine. If you want to get a head start on the chilling, stick the cans of pineapple and coconut milk in the refrigerator until you're ready to stir it all together.

1 can crushed pineapple

1 can coconut milk (NOT coconut creme like Coco Lopez unless you like things teeth-achingly sweet)

1 cup whole milk or half and half (or your choice of non-dairy milk, but use the full fat kind. Cow's milk/h&h will give a smoother sorbet. Another cup of coconut milk would be good. Rice milk would probably make ice crystals.)

a slosh of vanilla extract

pinch salt


flaked coconut, optional (You could toast it if you really wanted to be fancy.)

dark rum, optional


Put the pineapple, coconut milk, other milk, vanilla extract, and salt in a blender and blend until the pineapple isn't chunky anymore. (If you like chunky pineapple, stir it all together by hand.) Add the sugar–start with 1/4 cup, then taste. When it's as sweet as you want it, add another tablespoon, because things taste less sweet when frozen.

Chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours or more. Stir in the coconut flakes if you're using them, then turn in your ice cream maker. If you're adding rum, wait until the ice cream is almost completely turned before you add it–if you add alcohol too soon the sorbet won't freeze. Scrape out of the ice cream maker into a freezer-proof container and freeze to harden, then enjoy.

Recipe (c) Magda Pecsenye


* I have a summer habit of ice cream for an actual meal, and wrote about ice cream for dinner a few months ago. But I haven't taken the kids for ice cream for breakfast until now.

** At one point all six kids were sitting outside eating their ice cream
and the three of us were inside, and people kept walking by looking at
them as if the kids had come to the ice cream store all by themselves with no adults present.

32 thoughts on “Ice cream for breakfast (and a recipe for sorbet)”

  1. Sometimes I think that in addition to everything Moxie gives us, she really knows how to have fun with her kids! One of the most important things.

  2. I make food rules because the exceptions become special occasions. No sugar cereal during the school year means summer kicks off with a Lucky Charms fest. No soda at home or on weekdays means Saturday night at a burger joint is that much more special. We don’t go out a lot for ice cream, so the surprise late night trip to Menchies is more memorable. I don’t necessarily preach moderation, but it’s definitely part of our dialogue.I do worry, however, that my “system” celebrates and consoles with food.

  3. I feel really similar–I eat a much wider variety of foods than my kids (salad greens! trout!), but they’re not out for coffee and croissants with friends, you know?I wind up serving the same (healthy) things to them over and over because of where their food preferences overlap. These are too boring for me, or don’t keep well when my husband comes home late from work. So then I wind up with cookies (homemade, but still) as meal replacements. This is not good.
    I let them have dessert and ice cream and things like that fairly often, but I am trying to instill an understanding of quality, more healthful ingredients. Honemade cake or freshly made ice cream from the mom and pop store up the street is going to have less crap in it. Which isn’t to say we should eat it every day, but as a weekly treat it’s fine.
    Seasonal eating is more natural here, no opposite season produce shipped in from Chile, so everyone looks forward to fruits that are coming–watermelons and peaches yield to plums and melons and grapes. They
    understand that if you pick the oranges now instead of waiting until November they’re not going to taste very good.
    I worry a lot about balance. Organics are expensive here, so we don’t use them. I worry about the kids eating too much dairy for lunch or dinner; should I replace some of it with chicken? Should I use more tofu? Is whole wheat pasta twice a week really that bad? Etc. Selfishly, I would love to be *less* involved in their eating process. “You’re hungry…here’s the refrigerator.” I think they’d make pretty good choices.

  4. My soon-to-be ex-husband would stand over the kids and preach to them about eating healthy foods. Which made the kids shut down and not want to eat anything So I tend to not label foods as healthy or junk. So I offer a good variety at most meals. I have one who really doesn’t eat meat(partially because of a medical issue with chewing and swallowing), and one who absolutely hates most veggies. They take vitamins, drink the fruit juice with the veggies in it, and and I add carnation to their milk once a day. I don’t make them clean their plate, but eat until they feel full. We have breakfast for dinner, or a favourite around here is PB &J for breakfast. Some days we probably don’t eat so well, other days we do. Hopefully it balances out. I don’t want my kids to think of food as a reward, or as punishment. Food is simply nourishment for the body that sometimes nourishes the soul, too.

  5. Even though I was raised on processed food (I didn’t know garlic was an actual vegetable until college) and turned out to eat healthy as an adult, I get a little freaked out by all the chemicals, HFCS, food dyes, etc in so much of every day food. We try to eat a lot of whole foods but I also don’t spend too much energy on it. When we do eat processed foods, I try to get them from Trader Joe’s so I can feel a little better about what’s in them.I rarely buy organic because it is so expensive, but I do buy a lot of our fruits and veggies from our farmer’s market in the summer.
    We usually have some kind of treat in the house, whether it’s ice cream or popsicles in the summer or left over candy from holidays or goodie bags. When I purchase this stuff, I try to get natural fruit pops instead of the chemical and dye filled ones but I don’t freak out if my son now and then gets a screw-ball from the ice cream truck. I allow him to have a treat for dessert a few times per week if he eats a healthy dinner first. But I often push the fruit after dinner and reminding him we don’t eat the other kind of food every single day. And that’s good for me too because I’m not a huge fruit eater.
    What gets me most worked up is his friends who drink sugary drinks or get Lunchables for their school lunch all the time instead of a once in a while treat. Then, my son gets upset because we don’t allow that. Sure, soda or Gatorade once in a while for a treat is okay, but not in the house every day. And Lunchables… Don’t even get me started. Or those uber-sugary and food-dyed yogurts marketed for kids. Stuff like that gets my goat. It just does.
    But I readily admit, I have a Cheez-it weakness. Nobody’s perfect.

  6. I have severe food allergies and was raised by a couple of Italian farmers who were almost self-sufficient, so my attitudes towards food were influenced hugely by those three things.I cook everything from scratch, two of my three meals are cooked, and I snack mainly on fruit. If my kids are home they get what I prepare myself ( for them a treat is an actual sandwich). At school they have what is quaintly referred to as a ‘school dinner’ which is healthy and always includes a dessert, which is something we don’t normally have as part of our family meals.
    I have no qualms about letting them have their sugar fix. But if they have 3 biscuits as part of their breakfast, they have to have a fruit snack. I talk alot about staying healthy, the importance of the right foods, but rarely about getting fat. Noah has been doing the food groups at school and this tends to be reiterated a bit at home.

  7. I told my kids about a year ago that I was done being the food police. They know not to take ten cookies at a party. They know to try all foods. They eat great these days and don’t need me to continue watching over them. (But they know I still notice when they go for a 3rd cookie….)

  8. I tend to look at how the definition of “healthy” has changed since I was a kid, and figure it will change again. The most important thing to me is my great grandfather’s formula: do I like it and can I afford it? But we do eat largely fresh whole foods, and mostly organic; we’re lucky to be able to afford it, but we’re not crazy pure about it. I’m picky about pastured eggs and meat, but those aren’t daily foods anyway. We get a veggie box weekly for 3 seasons of the year, and have a couple farmer’s markets in reach. I cook from scratch 4-5 nights/week, and I do have some staple recipes I fall back on (artichokes in season, turkey chili, chicken caesar with real egg/anchovy dressing is a favorite). Mr. C keeps fairly strictly to a south beach style lowish-carb diet, so we buy super hippy bread (the one with that bible verse on it) for toast, but we also keep SF sourdough around for me & Mouse as well. Nightly dessert is every child and adult’s right in my opinion, but we do small, intense servings. We avoid fruit juice, and soda’s for parties or illness only. On the other hand, I won’t do substitutes – if a recipe calls for sugar, we use sugar (though probably organic). We don’t eat cereal, but we eat certain energy bars (ask me how that makes sense, I don’t know). I’d love to be hand-making my own granola, but I don’t really have time. I’m all for ice cream, and with the south beach philosophy it’s way healthier than a carbier dessert. So we get the fancy stuff and have it in little cups.These days Mouse eats with us, but that’s been a gradual transition the last few years; when Mr. C was both getting home really late and being really strict with south beach, and Mouse was really little, it just didn’t work. We don’t worry about what we eat on the road, and we like to try new things at friends’ houses.
    (Reading this I sound like that humorless lady up the street. The funny thing is, in the SF circle I’m in I’m considered rather relaxed about food since I don’t track every bite Mouse takes (or I take either). Ick. I probably need to chill.)

  9. Not so many food rules around here just yet. More trying to keep/set some good habits (for us and the little guy). L, 4, does not have a big sweet tooth (and neither do either of us actually). So generally, if he wants dessert with dinner, I’ll pretty much always serve it. We try not to make a big deal about it. We all love ice cream, so that (or a Popsicle) are often dessert. We have both a great supermarket ice cream made in our province that doesn’t contain modified anything (it’s soooo good and actually cheaper than the other brand names), and a great I’ve cream parlor close by that makes their own ice cream, so I know either way we’re not eating a lot of additives. And we also make our own ice cream occasionally, and I’d love to start making our own Popsicles more regularly (we have a great recipe for peach & Prosecco Popsicles, for the adults of course).L will occasionally not finish his desert if ‘his belly is full’, so it’s rare for him to overindulge in dessert.
    He’s occasionally had his dessert first at dinner time. It’s one (kid sized) serving and then he’ll eat his dinner. The requests for dessert first end after a few days, so again, I try not to make a big deal about it. As long as he’s eating in a fairly balanced way over the week, I’m ok with it. Oh, and I always serve a protein with sweets, so, glass of milk, cheese, etc. apparently it helps the whole sugar high/crash thing.
    And, I think I actually let L have a Popsicle for breakfast (or morning snack) a few weeks ago. In truth I caved (for a reason I don’t remember). He always eats a decent breakfast, so not too many worries. If we do something as a special treat I remind L that it’s the exception,not the rule.
    One day we’ll have ice cream for dinner. It just seems like such a fun idea.

  10. No caffeine for the kids, it is just one of my things. Soda is only a treat for the kids when we are out to eat and frankly my 6 yr old prefers lemonade most of the time anyway. I am not fanatical about it but I try to avoid HFCS as much as I can. I make 90% of our meals from scratch. My kids in general are great eaters and willingly et a wide variety of fruits/veggies so I don’t really stress out about occasional indulgences.For example, we don’t regularly have dessert but the boys regularly got root beer floats as a summer treat. And just this weekend, we stopped at the local doughnut shop on the way to a hike.
    Personally I try not to have chips in the house because both my husband and I tend to overindulge.

  11. I was just thinking about ice cream for breakfast recently! Mostly because my kids are little (4 and 2), and I would *much* rather them eat their sugar first thing in the morning than after dinner. We don’t “do” dessert in our house; they have plenty of sugary snacks (homemade cookies, frozen yogurt, gelato) but anytime after breakfast and before dinner. I want them to be able to burn off their sugar before bed. I like making our own cookies, because then I can control the amount of sugar, and also the size. I use what is essentially a melon baller to scoop out the chocolate chip cookie dough, so the cookies are always nice and small – perfect for preschooler fingers.We have few food rules. We follow the principle of offering them food and allowing them to chose what to eat. We also offer three snacks a day, mostly because I have tetchy blood sugar and I don’t think that the 3 meal a day system works for everyone. Snacks are more processed than I would like, but I don’t get too worried about how many crackers they eat. They eat tons of fruit and dairy and nuts; I try to give them as many whole grains as possible, but again, I don’t obsess about it. We eat well, they eat well. Since we have a homemade, non-processed, lower fat, whole grain largely vegetarian diet, we don’t need to think too much about the kids. My older is very “picky” but we don’t bother too much about it.
    @themilliner – peach and prosecco popsicles sound divine!

  12. I don’t think of them as food “rules” — maybe “food guidance” or “food principles”?Eat things that can do more than just taste good in the moment; think about what they will do for your body. Will they make it work better? Feel better?
    Eat because of how it makes you feel, not because of how you think it will make you look. (I am getting into the game early on squelching body-policing.)
    Let other people decide how they want to eat. Different people like different things.
    I love the Fat Nutritionist blog.

  13. We keep things pretty simple (or at least try). We don’t have soda or juice in the house; they can have milk or water. We *generally* do not have any sweets or junk food in the house. Sometimes I buy a carton of ice cream or make cookies or something. Not too often. We eat meat once or twice a week. I guess our philosophy is that if we keep to a fairly rigid standard in the home, we can be looser when we’re out and about. We’ll stop and get them ice cream pretty regularly (about once a week). They get fast food maybe once a month. And because they don’t usually have that stuff at home, I feel I can be relaxed about what they get away from the house. We just try to model healthy eating and steer them toward making good food choices on their own. We talk about how it might seem great to just eat junk food and sweets but how after awhile we probably would feel pretty sick. I think they get it.

  14. I don’t really have food “rules” per se. I just stock my house with things that are healthy and let her eat what she wants. It’s easy now because my kid is only 2 and not yet exposed to much marketing (we live overseas so she doesn’t get to watch American TV). I don’t really do snacks (more because I’m lazy than because of dogma) and so she doesn’t ask for things like crackers or chips or whatever. I cook dinner, she eats what I cook, and if she doesn’t well, that’s life.Now…that being said, we are currently in week 5 of living in a hotel as we wait for our apartment to be ready, and this means that my food rules, or lack there of, are kind of biting me. I let her make her own food choices and that means noodle soup for breakfast, and ice cream at almost every meal. Oh well. IT’s temporary. We’ll get back to our routine one day. Soon. Maybe. Oh god. I hope.

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  16. Another thing that I don’t allow and personally have strong feelings about (as I do for HFCS) is artificial sweeteners. I’d rather my son (or myself) overindulge in pure sugar than artificial sweeteners.My in-laws got my son a sugar free chocolate bunny for Easter last year and I was like “What the??” They got the impression I didn’t want him to have sugar since I’m always harping on how he needs protein at breakfast, not a muffin the size of his head. (Yeah, I’m a lovely daughter-in-law.)
    But honestly, I don’t have much problem with a chocolate bunny on Easter. It’s a holiday, and it’s expected. I do have a problem with a sugar free chocolate bunny that is sweetened with chemicals.
    I don’t understand why this is so hard for some people go grasp.

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  18. My in-laws got my son a sugar free chocolate bunny for Easter last year and I was like “What the??” They got the impression I didn’t want him to have sugar since I’m always harping on how he needs protein at breakfast, not a muffin the size of his head. (Yeah, I’m a lovely daughter-in-law.)

  19. He’s occasionally had his dessert first at dinner time. It’s one (kid sized) serving and then he’ll eat his dinner. The requests for dessert first end after a few days, so again, I try not to make a big deal about it. As long as he’s eating in a fairly balanced way over the week, I’m ok with it. Oh, and I always serve a protein with sweets, so, glass of milk, cheese, etc. apparently it helps the whole sugar high/crash thing.

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