JOPLIN, Mo. —
It all started with a little white lie involving the blasted ice cream truck. I may have led my innocent toddler to believe that it is a music truck.
The truck drives by several times a day, cranking its mechanical, sugar-laden call to children.
Three years later my daughter still gets excited when the music truck goes by. Until today. A neighborhood kid heard my naive little darling refer to it as a music truck. The kid was quick to correct her.
The jig is up. She knows she's been living a lie. There is actually a truck that drives by several times a day peddling frozen treats. Luckily my daughter doesn't seem too terribly resentful that I've wasted so many years of ice cream-eating opportunities.
The whole point of fibbing about the ice cream truck was to avoid my toddler wanting treats every time it drove by. It was just an added bonus to see her stop what she was doing and run to the front yard to dance for the supposed music truck. We haven't made a purchase yet, but I know it's coming very soon. I guess I should be grateful for three years of innocence, where healthy homemade popsicles were the ultimate summer treat.
Popsicles are symbolic of summer. There have already been a few hot days worthy of breaking out the popsicles. I love frozen treats as much as the next kid, but they're easy to make and don't have to be full of sugar, dyes and empty calories. There's no reason popsicles can't be eaten every day when you make your own. Our standard popsicle is just plain yogurt and fruit blended into a smoothie and poured into popsicle molds. Simple, healthy and yummy.
There are endless variations for healthier popsicles. Use juice, maple syrup, stevia or honey as sweetener. Blend yogurt, tofu or bananas with fruit to make a popsicle with a creamy texture, or throw a few berries into each mold and top with fruit juice for a pretty frozen surprise.
Don't forget that grown-ups love popsicles, too. Make a batch of cocktail popsicles -- poptails -- for your next gathering. Your guests will be pleasantly surprised to feel like a kid again, with the perks of actually being an adult.
Summer is on its way. Hook up the sprinkler, blow up that inflatable swimming pool and grab a popsicle.
1 cup water
2 over-ripe bananas
Juice and zest of 1 lime
Dash of salt
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into molds and freeze.
Adapted from aharmonyhealing.com
Mango coconut popsicles
1 1/4 cups chopped mango
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lime juice
Blend, pour into molds and freeze.
Adapted from inhabitots.com
Blackberry iced tea pops
1 cup blackberries
2 cups strong black tea, such as Darjeeling or Earl Grey, cooled
5 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
In a blender, puree the blackberries until smooth. Whisk in the tea, honey and lemon juice until well combined. Pour into molds and freeze.
Adapted from the book "Perfect Pops"
Bourbon peaches and cream poptails
1 cup ripe peaches, crushed
1/4 cup bourbon
1/2 cup simple syrup or honey, to taste
2 cups plain yogurt
Peel and slice peaches. Use a potato masher to crush the peaches. Combine crushed peaches and bourbon in a bowl, mix to combine. Add the simple syrup in slowly and taste to preference. Add yogurt to bourbon peach mixture and combine. Pour into molds and freeze. Omit bourbon for the kiddos, of course!
Adapted from endlesssimmer.com