Make Your Own Ice Cream: Zoku Ice Cream Maker Review!

Zoku Ice Cream Maker

What Is It
If you want to make ice cream without the huge expensive of an entire electronic ice cream machine, the Zoku Ice Cream Maker is going to be your favorite summer appliance! BPA and phthalate-free for your health, the Zoku Ice Cream Maker allows you to make individual portions of ice cream, custard, frozen yogurt, gelato, sorbet, or sherbert in as little as 10 minutes. Perfect as a way to make healthier ice cream without additives or as a fun way to teach children about chemistry and making their own food, the Zoku Ice Cream Maker is available in multiple color options.

The Zoku Ice Cream Maker includes the stainless steel bowl, the protective sleeve, and a spoon for stirring and making the ice cream. This is everything you need to make a bowl of ice cream; you’ll just need to provide the ingredients to make the ice cream itself.

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If you’re worried about being lost about what to do, don’t be. This personal size ice cream maker also comes with instructions that include illustrations. The instructions also include multiple recipes for different types of ice cream you could make. The instruction manual is also available online if you happen to lose your paper copy.

The Zoku Ice Cream Maker was designed to be super easy to use as well. Requiring absolutely no electricity (but it does require freezing the interior bowl), it can be done wherever you want. First, freeze the inner bowl overnight. After that, you’re going to want to fill the inner bowl with 5 ounces of your ice cream mixture. Once you’ve poured it, start immediately scraping the bowl with the spoon to frequently stir and scrap the bowl to regularly remove the ice cream from the sides of the bowl. This keeps the ice cream soft and creamy. If you’re working with kids, not scraping the sides won’t ruin the ice cream, but it will thicken the ice cream and make it harder to scrape. As the ice cream starts to solidify, you’ll add any toppings you want mixed into the ice cream. Soft serve ice cream will be done in about 10 minutes while harder ice cream will require placing the bowl back into the freezer for another 10 to 20 minutes.

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My Opinion
I’m surprised by how simple making ice cream with the Zoku Ice Cream Maker is. It’s definitely not-at-all difficult, and assuming you plan ahead of time by sticking the bowl in the freezer overnight, you’ll have ice cream within 15 minutes of starting. Start-to-finish, it takes about 15 minutes for delicious, soft-serve ice cream. (Not sure what one of you weirdos love hard, frozen ice cream, but soft serve is totally where it’s at)

Throwing all the ingredients into a bowl was super easy. You need to get the sugar to dissolve in the mixture, but it only takes a minute or so of hand-mixing. You don’t need to get out any other supplies.

Once you’ve thrown together all of your ingredients and dissolved the mix, it just pours into the frozen bowl (for optimal results, you’ll want to refridgerate your mixture up to 40 degrees F before using it, but it works fine as long as you mix your ingredients ASAP after taking them out of the fridge. You’ll end up with a soft, melty-er ice cream). As soon as you pour it, start scooping the ice cream. The included spoon has a firm, spatula-like feel to it, so it scoops the ice cream off of the edges of the metal bowl pretty well. Don’t be afraid to apply some force. You don’t need a ton of force, but you’ll need enough force to scoop off the sides that it might feel like you’ll scratch the bowl. As long as you’re using the included Zoku spoon, you shouldn’t have any issue.

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As you continue to mix the ice cream, make sure to mix around the visible areas as well. Scooping the ice off of the visible edges will help you understand how much force you need to use to get the ice cream off of the bottom and sides that you can’t see. It’s really a simple process. As an adult, it took less effort than making stir fry, and I can easily see this being something that kids can do without any issue – you just have to make sure they keep scooping the edges. The bowl is forgiving if you don’t scoop off of the edges regularly, but it will start to “build up” if you don’t do it semi-often.

I did this for about 8 minutes before I decided I was done. Do NOT try to eat the ice cream out of the bowl. You totally can try it, but the freezing will continue to freeze as you’re attempting to eat it, and you’ll find that you’ll start getting ice cream frozen to the sides of the bowl. It seems to work really well if you just pour your ice cream into a separate bowl – then it doesn’t continue to freeze.

The resulting ice cream is actually pretty good. It has a sweetness and creaminess to it that tastes a whole lot better than store-bought ice cream. It’s like a thicker and creamier version of most soft-serve ice creams you can get at places like Dairy Queen. It’s actually quite sweet and delicious – and that’s using the included recipe that only has about 5 ingredients you need to gather. Doing some digging online about good recipes should lead some tastier and healthier options for using your Zoku Ice Cream Maker.

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If you’re someone who is constantly concerned about what ingredients are in your ice cream or want to show your children how simple it can be to make “real” food on their own, the Zoku Ice Cream Maker can be a fantastic purchase. You can use any of the natural recipes you’d like to use, or any of the included Zoku recipes are made using standard, clean ingredients such as milk, sugar, vanilla extra, heavy cream, and Kosher salt. No premade mixes are required, and for the most part (I’m not sure most people keep Kosher salt in their homes), it only uses ingredients you already have in your home.

The recipes that the instruction manual offers work pretty well. They will make a tasty, sweet ice cream that’s smooth and creamy. At the same time, all of the recipes include enough of the mix to make multiple bowls of the ice cream. I halved one of their recipes, and it still made enough liquid to make 2.5 bowls of their ice cream. As you only have one bowl at a time, it seems like providing the base recipe – and instructions to multiply if you want to make multiple servings, would have been a better way to go about it. However, if you see yourself using the Zoku Ice Cream Maker multiple times in a short time period, it’s pretty easy to keep the liquid ice cream mixture good in the refridgerator until you’re ready for it.

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Pros
The Zoku Ice Cream Maker makes it so simple to make ice cream. There’s only a couple of pieces, it requires no electricity, and the included instructions are clear and offer great recipes. This is a fantastic, low space-footprint way to make single-servings of ice cream and enjoy some family time together.

Cons
The Zoku Ice Cream Maker only makes a single serving of ice cream. If you’re wanting to feed more than a couple people, it becomes unpractical to continue to use this little guy. However, if you just want something for your child or yourself, it’s absolutely perfect. My other complaint is that the Zoku Ice Cream Maker isn’t dishwasher-safe. I hate washing things by hand.

Recommended
If you want to enjoy a single serving of delicious ice cream that’s made up of only what you want to put into your body, the Zoku Ice Cream Maker is perfect. It’s very simple and relatively effortless to make the ice cream, and you can easily use only the ingredients you want to use.

Buy It
You can pick up the Zoku Ice Cream Maker right from the Zoku website. You also can find it at local retailers – I know I’ve seen them at Target!

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Giveaway: Celebrate Father’s Day with a Customized Photobook from Twigtale!

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A lot of photographers agree: there’s currently a problem in the digital age with a lack of physical photos making it out there. I’m a bit guilty of it too – so many of my photos are stored digitally, and while I love my digital photos, there’s something really, really amazing about having them printed off. Not only is it a lot easier to show someone (“Here, grandma, flip through this photo book with me!” instead of “Hey grandma, let’s look at my iPad”), but it gives you an extra layer of security in case of a computer failure – plus, it’s a whole lot easier to give as a gift. Physical, well-printed copies of any photograph are a much, much better gift than, well, an e-mail.

Printing your photos and making them gift-worthy is what Twigtale wants to help you with. Specializing in the art of storytelling through words and photos, Twigtale makes it easy to make photo books with your favorite photos – even if you’re not computer savvy. Twigtale includes professional book designs that are just “drag and drop” to easily place your favorite memories exactly where you want them. Fully editable text, full photo integration, and more makes it easy to build a book that you’ll be proud of.

With Father’s Day coming up, consider a photo book to help celebrate your favorite father. Twigtale’s best-selling Father-centric templates are World’s Greatest Dad and Me and Daddy. Even your kids can help make this book! Drag in some of your favorite photos of dad and add in some of your loving words to really personalize your gift.

Remember: the last day to order to receive your book in time for Father’s Day is June 9th!

Want to try out Twigtale on your own? While the giveaway winner won’t be able to receive their book in time for Father’s Day, you can certainly use it to celebrate another amazing occasion in your life (vacation, maybe?).

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WIN IT:

Twigtale has generously offered to send a code to for a customized photo book from Twigtale to one lucky winner! To enter, simply complete the form below (one entry per person, per method). Info collected will only be used to verify the winning entry and contact the winner. This giveaway will close on June 18th at 11:59pm EST. The contest is open to readers in the US only.

One winner will be picked randomly through Giveaway Tools, and I will contact them via email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond with mailing address or another winner will be chosen.

Click on the “Read More” tag below to enter the giveaway if you are viewing from the home page.

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Giveaway: Keep Your Family Safe from Carbon Monoxide with the First Alert 10-Year Battery CO Detector!

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Known as the “silent killer”, CO is a colorless and odorless gas considered the number one cause of accidental poisoning in the US. Carbon Monoxide poisoning shows itself in nausea, headaches, dizziness, weakness, chest pain, and possibly vomiting. Unfortunately, those relatively-common sickness symptoms may be written off as a flu coming on or food sickness. The longer someone is exposed to the gas, the more dangerous the outcome: severe poisoning cases can cause unconsciousness, long-term neurological disabilities, breathing failure, or death.

Now that we’ve gotten the grim facts out of the way, what can you do to prevent accidental CO poisoning? The easiest way is with an accurate CO Alarm. CO Alarms should be installed outside every sleeping area (such as a shared hallway) and on every level of the home. Alarms should be regularly tested and cleaned of all dust and debris. Any fuel-burning device should be serviced by a qualified technician every year, but even then, that’s no guarantee that there’ll be no danger. The easiest and safest way to keep your family safe is to ensure that you have an alarm will alert you to this unnoticeable danger so you can evacuate your home and get the problem fixed. Yet studies show that 90 percent of American homes don’t meet the National Fire Protection Association’s recommendation for basic protection from CO poisoning through CO alarms.

Protecting your home and family is vital, and FirstAlert wants to help. Their latest product, the 10-Year Battery Carbon Monoxide alarm, is a powerful alarm that includes a sealed lithium battery that powers the alarm for 10 years without worrying about the battery. You’ll never have to worry about not being covered in case of an emergency; the end-of-life alarm will let you know when it’s time to replace the unit in 10 years, but otherwise, you’ll never have to worry about your CO alarm. You’ll have peace of mind without having to worry about keeping your peace of mind well-powered with new batteries.

The stylish, modern design ensures that you’ll be content keeping this First Alert Carbon Monoxide poisoning alarm sitting out in your home. By default, the alarm displays the ambiant temperature to be a helpful fixture to your home – but don’t worry, it will also alarm and display the CO levels if it detects carbon monoxide in your home.

Is protecting your family important to you? Are you sure that they’ll be safe if this odorless, hard-to-detect poison gets lose in your home? Let First Alert help you out – they’re helping me give away a First Alert 10-Year Battery Carbon Monoxide Detector to a lucky winner!

WIN IT:

First Alert has generously offered to send a First Alert Carbon Monoxide 10-Year Alarm to one lucky winner! To enter, simply complete the form below (one entry per person, per method). Info collected will only be used to verify the winning entry and contact the winner. This giveaway will close on June 15th at 11:59pm EST. The contest is open to readers in the US only.

One winner will be picked randomly through Giveaway Tools, and I will contact them via email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond with mailing address or another winner will be chosen.

Click on the “Read More” tag below to enter the giveaway if you are viewing from the home page.

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Giveaway: “Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Less” Book

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Having less is more sometimes. I know, I know, it’s a great saying to live by, but I’ll definitely admit that I have problems always sticking to it. After all, that dress at the store is SO cute! And look at that new end table! I need it, right? I’ve been trying to cut down on the clutter and excess stuff in my home for the last year, and I have to admit: I feel better about it. I’ve figured out that we can’t quite get rid of our video game or book collection yet, but we’ve definitely cleaned out a lot of the excess stuff that we were keeping around, and I do feel better about it.

“Chicken Soup for the Soul” wants to ensure that you can find the same peace within yourself as you start to simplify your life. A lot of people can find the process to be frustrating, difficult, and stressful, so they want to help inspire you with their latest release: “Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Less“. Featuring tons of stories about people finding happiness as they reduce their workload and material clutter, this book is going to be a fantastic read if you’ve been thinking about cutting back.

The official book description says:

In the Age of Disposables—fashion, phones, glasses, and even friends!—some people are finding joy by rediscovering the simple life. They’re cleaning house, both literally and figuratively, and finding themselves better for it. By getting rid of excess “stuff” and trimming down their over-filled schedules, they feel happier and more fulfilled than ever before. It’s really true that little can go a long way.

With Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Less, spring cleaning takes on a whole new meaning. You’ll read stories about people who found happiness in an unlikely way: by saying no. No to buying more stuff, no to taking on additional time-filling commitments, and no to trying to please everyone all of the time.

WIN IT:

Chicken Soup for the Soul has generously offered to send an unread copy of “Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Less” to one lucky winner! To enter, simply complete the form below (one entry per person, per method). Info collected will only be used to verify the winning entry and contact the winner. This giveaway will close on June 7th at 11:59pm EST. The contest is open to readers in the US only.

One winner will be picked randomly through Giveaway Tools, and I will contact them via email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond with mailing address or another winner will be chosen.

Click on the “Read More” tag below to enter the giveaway if you are viewing from the home page.

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