Archive for July, 2010

Homemade Popsicles: Beat the Heat with These Healthy Summer Treats!

Adapted from my monthly column on www.thefamilygroove.com

Oh, how I love the hot lazy days of summer where we can just kick back and enjoy being outdoors! And, when the hot weather hits, there is nothing more refreshing than popsicles!

Peruse the shelves of the grocery store, though, and you will be hard-pressed to find ones that are not laden with sugar and food colorings! So bad were the popsicles served at my childrens’ camps that even heavy duty detergents and bleach could not get the stains out of their shirts and their hands were stained for days! Do we really want to be putting that into our children’s bodies? I don’t think so!

Luckily, popsicles are the easiest treats to make and children love to participate making them with you! All you need is a set of molds (William-Sonoma has some adorable shooting star ones) and some juice, fruit, yogurt or even chocolate soy milk. Following are some of my favorite recipes but experiment with the fruits or other ingredients that your children like best!

If you just are not up for making them, there is also a brand at Whole Foods and other health food stores called Fruitfull (my daughter and I are completely addicted to the Coconut and I eventually requested that our children’s camp serve these as an option!) Coconut Bliss also carries chocolate and coconut popsicles made from coconut and sweetened with agave nectar. In a pinch, these are both good choices but it is always better and more fun to make your own!

The ones featured are my Strawberry & Cream ones that my son and I made. When it is a hot summer day, my children literally ask to have one for breakfast and think that they are getting such as treat while I know they are having a healthy start to their day!

Strawberry and Cream Popsicles
1 box frozen strawberries
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk or 1 cup yogurt (vanilla Stoneyfield, Fage, Brown Cow or So Delicious Coconut yogurt)

Combine the ingredients and blend until smooth but a few chunks of the strawberries are left. We used vanilla almond milk with a dollop of the So Delicious Coconut yogurt for the ones above but if you want to keep it simple and use just the strawberries and whatever yogurt you have on hand, do that as well! Pour in the molds and freeze.

Banana Cream Popsicles
6 bananas
1 cup yogurt (Stoneyfield, Brown Cow, Fage or So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Yogurt are my favorites)

Mix the ingredients in a blender or by hand and then pour into molds. Freeze and enjoy!

Watermelon Electrolyte Lemonade Popsicles
Watermelon- cubed or chunked (approximately 4 cups)
1-2 cups Newman’s Own (or other healthy, low-sugar lemonade)
1 squeeze of agave nectar
1 dash of sea salt

Combine the ingredients and blend in a blender. Be sure to put aside a few chunks or simply mash up to add to the mixture to give it text ure. Pour the mixture into the molds and freeze. These are so refreshing and delicious and are great after a workout or hot day at the beach!

Peach-Mango Cream Popsicles
2 peaches (cut up and frozen)
1 ripe mango
1 cup yogurt (see above for recommendations)

Combine ingredients in a blender until smooth. It is nice to leave a few peach slices aside to mash and add to the mixture. Pour into molds & serve.

Chocolate-Banana Popsicles
Chocolate almond milk (or soy milk, rice or hemp milk)
Frozen banana
Unsweetened grated coconut (or the meat from a young Thai coconut)

Combine the above ingredients and blend. Pour in molds, freeze & enjoy! These are decadent!!!

CSA Farm Shares: What Are They & Why Should You Sign Up For One?

Here is a picture of just some of the gorgeous greens and other vegetables that were in my CSA farm share box last night!

It has been a long, cold winter all across the United States and in New York not much grows locally until Spring! So, last night I excitedly awaited our first delivery of our CSA farm share!

I am sure you have heard of CSA’s but just what are they, you might wonder! CSA stands for ‘community supported agriculture’ and they are a unique approach to farming that brings the farms and customers together to produce quality, locally harvested, sustainable crops to your dinner table!

With a CSA you become a “member” of the farm for a season by pre-paying on the produce you will receive, which enables the farmer to be able to afford to plant and harvest the produce! And, you in return receive a portion of the farm’s harvest!

I am a member of a CSA called My Farm Share. For anyone interested in this farm share in New York, they have offered a free small sample box so contact them directly about this and tell them that I referred you! Last year I signed up for the vegetable and fruit shares, however this year I am signed up only for the vegetable one. You can also add eggs to your share. Each Tuesday night beginning in June, we receive a box bursting with fresh vegetables for our week!

This morning, we received ample amounts of mixed lettuces, swiss chard, arugula, kale, radishes, garlic scrapes, bac choi and fresh basil! Not only does receiving new vegetables each week encourage me to experiment with vegetables I have turned out to love but might not ordinarily buy, but I have been able to really connect with and become educated about which vegetables are in season in my area.

When you have eaten vegetables that have literally just been picked and delivered to your doorstep and you taste just how fresh they are, you can literally never go back! Today, I am planning on making a large salad for lunch with the fresh lettuces and radishes and a large green juice and tonight I will make a fresh pesto with the basil- yum!

Garden Salad with Lemon Garlic Dressing
Mixed lettuces
Radishes
Optional: grated carrots, sliced tomatos, avocado, or any other vegetable that you have and love!

For the dressing:
4-6 tbsp olive oil
1/2 Lemon
Garlic
Dash of sea salt

In a large bowl, mixed the lettuce and then top with whatever vegetables you have on hand. In a separate bowl, mix the olive oil, lemon, garlic and sea salt and then top on your salad! Truly so delicious and easy!!!

Pesto Sauce

1 ¼ cups olive oil
2 cups chopped basil
1 clove chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped pine nuts
1/2 cup parmesan (optional!)
Lemon (optional)

Mix all of the above ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. If you want a more lemony taste, you can add the juice of one lemon.

You can use this pesto sauce over regular pasta noodles, on top of pizza or brushetta, or even over fish! I will use mine over zucchini noodles, which I have sliced with a mandolin or hand slicer!

However you use it the result is delicious and it is always nice to have some in the fridge to spice up recipes! Check out my new blog Raw Mom Hot Dog Kids for daily posts of recipes for vegetables that are in season locally!