Cool Treats for Hot Days
Things are heating up here in Austin. As the temperatures climb you may find yourself craving a cold treat. Sure you can head to the nearest H-E-B and grab some popsicles or ice cream. Unfortunately these treats are often filled with sugars. As an alternative you can now make your own frozen treats!
There are a few great options when you’re craving something sweet but also want to keep cool. Try making your own smoothie. This is great for using up any leftover fruits or vegetables you have in your fridge. You’ll first need to get out a blender. Add in fruits or vegetables. I love using a banana, some spinach, and a dash of cocoa powder. Another great combination is strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. You can really add almost any fruit or vegetable. Fresh fruits and vegetables work as well as frozen too.
Once you’ve picked what flavor smoothie you are having you’ll need to add some type of liquid. I typically use water or almond milk but you could use any type of milk or even a fruit juice. Using juice, however, might add in those extra sugars you’re trying to steer clear of. If you want you can add some ice. This is probably a good idea of your fruits and veggies aren’t frozen. The more ice you add the thicker your smoothie will be.
I personally like my smoothies pretty thick. I have those wide reusable straws so it doesn’t need to be mostly liquid to fit through. Personal preference really comes into play here.
Turn the blender on to a desired speed and mix until it’s the right consistency. I often have to add a bit more water or a few more ice cubes depending on the ratios. I always end up adjusting the recipe a bit to end up with my desired consistency. This part of the process is really a lot of trial and error. Except there’s really no error when it comes to smoothies.
The great thing about tweaking the recipe as you go is that it really doesn't matter if you end up with too much smoothie. Add it to a sealed bag or a container and freeze it for the next hot day!
Another option, instead of making a smoothie, is to make your own popsicles. Again, there are so many options of flavors when you make your own treats.
In order to make these you will need one of two things. First you could purchase a popsicle making container, like this one on Amazon. These come with plastic sticks instead of popsicle sticks. If you don’t want to purchase that you could also just use popsicle sticks and small sized tupperware or cups.
Decide what kind of fruit or vegetable you want to use. Some great suggestions are peaches, strawberries, guava, or papaya. Ideally you’ll want frozen fruit but you can also use fresh, just make sure to remove any skin or outer shell. The liquid you choose to use, similarly to the smoothie choices, are up to you. You can add water, milk, or juice. Another option would be to add several ounces of yogurt. This would give the popsicle a creamier consistency.
Add the fruit and your choice of liquid ingredient to a food processor or blender and mix until smooth. The consistency, again, is really up to you. Some people enjoy fruit chunks in their popsicles and some don’t. Decide what sounds best to you. Once your fruit is well blended you’ll have one more choice to make.
There are several things you could add to your popsicle before freezing it. Honey might be needed to add a little extra sweetener. Or try adding cocoa nibs, especially if you’ve used bananas. Yum! Chia seeds or cocoa powder are some other options.
Your last step is to evenly distribute your popsicle filling into either your popsicle containers or smaller sized tupperware. Insert the plastic stick or popsicle sticks and place in the freezer. You will need to allow it to freeze for several hours.
If you don’t happen to have popsicle sticks or pre-made popsicle containers you can always just add the popsicle mixture to a plastic cup and then once it is frozen use a spoon to scoop it out.
As a child I used to freeze my orange juice and then use a spoon to scoop it out of the cup on hot summer days. I would always want a popsicle but my parents definitely preferred this healthier option!
Now that you have some healthy home-made choices of cold treats you may be able to enjoy these hot summer days a little more.