It has long been my belief that a successful healthy eating plan will create a sense of abundance, a feeling of wellness, and will involve joyful eating experiences. Yeah, right, all the time? Nobody who has the dubious pleasure of cooking for others regularly can seriously think that ANY dietary choice will create familial nirvana. I have found that there are some items that do, in fact, hit it out of the park every time….. Care to guess?
Yes, okay, it’s a dessert, but it’s not just any dessert. The desserts that score the biggest points around here are those that are the most celebratory and those that are easily associated with good times. So cake is always good, as it is quite celebratory, but personally, when I think July, I don’t think cake. Enter the popsicle. Honestly, what could be more fun than a popsicle? I’ll tell you what can be more fun than a popsicle…. making your own popsicles from healthful ingredients and watching your children eat them with their friends. That is MORE fun than your average popsicle. So when I saw the BPA-free popsicle molds, I heard my daughter’s voice in my head waxing rhapsodic over the high fructose corn syrup ice pop she was given at gymnastics; I promptly set aside my no plastic rule and bought those puppies.
Our first popsicles are the second offering in my Sneaking It In series: Brave Popsicles. I’m pretty sure you are all aware of how to make popsicles. Most of you have probably done it at some point, and if you have paper cups and some wooden sticks, you don’t even need any fancy pants molds. I had also made dixie cup pops as a kid, but somehow while making these incredibly healthful produce concoctions, it never occurred to me that a green smoothie would make a GREAT popsicle base. Duh. I corralled my assistants and we promptly began stuffing the blender full of kale (about 2.5 cups packed), 3 large frozen bananas, about 1.5 c frozen blueberries, some fresh pineapple that was on its last legs (probably a cup), a little juice leftover from another recipe, and about (very approximately) 2 cups of almond milk. Just as I was about to flip the switch, my boy said: “Mom, we should add some sea veggies.” I got the spirulina jar and giggled as I put a couple of teaspoons in. Blasted away in the blender until I couldn’t stand the noise anymore. Not very appealing looking, but a popsicle is a popsicle, right?
My assistant held the mold as I filled it. We lined them up as we finished and then carefully put them in the freezer so we could share them with little friends scheduled to come over later in the afternoon. Our guests arrived. Adults made fresh pasta and sauce while children (and a few adults) participated in an epic water gun battle in the back yard. Sprinkler, every kind of squirt gun imaginable, water balloons and a whole lot of fun. 11 of us sat down to a wonderful pasta feast and then the kids broke into their Brave Popsicles. My children were enthusiastic in spite of the color and the clear lack of intense sweetness. Our guests were reluctant, but eventually dug in and let’s just say all of the popsicle sticks were licked clean. Success. Kale in a popsicle. Sometimes I crack myself up.
Today we attempt to create a facsimile of my favorite summertime treat – the fudgsicle. After the prior success, I followed the same formula – made a banana based soft serve that we have enjoyed on its own as a dessert and simply scooped it into the molds. Tonight after our fourth of July feast (which will hopefully include homemade baked beans – at the moment they look like soup in the crock pot), we shall sample our wares and I’m confident they will be delish. Then, severe storms permitting, we may catch some fireworks.
I don’t know about you, but there is something about simple pleasures in summer that feels especially wholesome and satisfying. Something so glorious about sharing a treat with friends and family in the oppressive heat, something so freeing about running through a sprinkler with a five year old. I don’t know how you will spend your Independence Day, but I think I’m going to go stir the beans, whip up some corn bread, check on the freeze factor of our fudgsicles, and then turn on that sprinkler.
Choco Nana Milkshake – I added one banana and left the chia seeds out on this go round.