Left photo: Zoku Ice Pops | Right photo: Cucumber Mint Margarita Zoku
Credit: Both images from Zoku Quick Pop Maker product page on Amazon

Froyo and Ice Pops

Froyo = Frozen Yogurt

One day last month, the temperature in my area of Toronto reached a balmy 22 degrees C[1] (73 F) and I actually heard an ice cream truck in the neighbourhood.

It reminded me that I spent almost $3 last year to buy my daughter some frozen treat from it. Sure, it looked fancy (I forget what it was now) but this year I vowed to make her some frozen (healthy) snacks at home.
And I don't know about you, but I'm leery about all the sugar and artificial colouring in commercial popsicles[3] - and the fat content in ice cream, well, blah.
For the past couple of years, my daughter has enjoyed all kinds of smoothies - the great thing is I add veggies to some of them. Sometimes, it's the only way I can get the little angel to eat some broccoli or spinach.
So, after compiling my favorite smoothies (and finding some excellent recipes for the Zoku Quick Pop Maker) I thought National Frozen Yogurt Day would be the perfect time to share these with you.

Prices shot up since the '70s

Popsicles used to be a dime!

Left image: Ice cream on Bloor | Right image: Mango Sticky Rice popsicle
Credit: Left photo: spDuchamp on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic | Right photo: Arnold Gatilao (arnold | inuyak on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

National Frozen Yogurt Day

February or June?

For inspiration, I looked up National Frozen Yogurt Day - which I vaguely remembered was in June.[4][5][6][8] Makes sense, it's when the weather starts to get hot. Yet I found other references that stated it was in February.[7][9][10]

Hmmm, I wasn't craving frozen yogurt in February, so who changed the date? (Psst, I'd switch it back).

Ready to eat in 10 minutes?

So what is the worse thing about making popsicles (aka ice pops, ice lollies, or freezer pops[2])? Right, waiting for them to freeze. And I'm far too lazy to plan ahead and make them the night before a hot day (that would take foresight and effort on my part).
Well, wouldn't you know it, the brilliant folks at Zoku came up with a method to freeze popsicles (without electricity). What's more, each ice pop is frozen in 10 minutes (I allow 15 minutes for some thicker smoothie-based ones). Plus you can make different flavored ice pops at the same time. 

A quick 1:05 second demonstration

(No words are spoken in this video):

Zoku Quick Pop Maker

Zoku Quick Pop Maker RoseWrites 2014-05-02 4.5 0 5

Zoku Quick Pop Maker - Triple

Single and Duo Makers are also available

Zoku Quick Pop Maker, White
Amazon Price: $49.99 $39.95 Buy Now
(price as of May 28, 2014)
Since each ice pop requires 2 oz. of liquid, I reasoned that most people would want to make at least 3 at-a-time. And I find I can use the unit 3 times (making 9 ice pops) before I need to wash and refreeze the unit. NOTE: Since it becomes less cold with each use, add an extra 5 minutes of wait time to each successive batch.

Three key points:

1. Freeze the base unit for at least 24 hours

Zoku Includes: 1 base unit, 1 remover tool, 6 reusable pop sticks & 6 reusable drip guards
Credit: Amazon

2. Add liquid up to the "Fill Line" only

Freezing causes liquid to expand. Otherwise, ice pop bottoms will get mushy & use the drip guards.

Zoku unit being filled
Credit: Amazon

3. No diet drinks or artificial sweeteners

Purportedly, agave nectar doesn't work well

Credit: Mike Mozart (JeepersMedia on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Can alcohol be added for "adult" ice pops?

High proof liqueur has a very low freezing point - so you probably wouldn't have great success with ice pops made mostly of booze.

With that in mind, if you mix in 1 teaspoon of alcohol per popsicle (remember, each one contains 2 oz. of liquid) it will definitely work.

In fact, here is the recipe for Cucumber Mint Margarita Quick Pops[11] (shown as the right photo at the beginning of this article):

Makes: 6 | Prep: 30 mins | Total: 40 mins


1 cucumber (peeled & sliced)
2 limes (freshly squeezed)
10 mint leaves
1 cup water
½ cup sugar

1 tsp. tequila per popsicle (2 tbsp. tequila for 6 popsicles)

Optional garnish: 6 mint leaves and/or cucumber slices


Ensure your Zoku Quick Pop Maker has been in a freezer for at least 24 hours (leave it in freezer until ready to pour the liquid).

In a medium saucepan, on low heat, combine water and sugar. Stir continuously until sugar has dissolved (about 7 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool (for about 15 minutes). 

In the meantime, wash and prepare the cucumber, limes, and mint leaves. Get your tequila out (have a shot, if you wish).

In a blender (or immersion hand blender), puree sugar water mixture with cucumber, lime juice, and mint leaves until smooth. Add 2 tbsp. (1 ounce) of tequila and pulse to combine thoroughly.

Lastly, get the base unit out of your freezer and place on a firm surface or countertop.

Optional fancy garnish: Apply wet mint leaves and/or cucumber slices to the inner walls of the popsicle reservoirs before filling with liquid. The cold inner walls causes them to naturally stick to the sides.

Add the sticks and pour the mixture to the fill line. Wait 10 minutes, remove the pops and repeat with the remaining margarita mix. Allow 15 minutes of freeze time for the second batch.

Blueberry glass desk
Credit: Dale Gillard on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Broccoli Banana Blueberry Ice Pops

Makes: 8 | Prep: 20 mins | Total: 30 mins

I adapted this recipe based on two similar recipes I found on the Yoplait[12][13] website. Instead of using fat-free skim milk, I use organic blueberry-pomegranate whole milk yogurt. Dannon and Straus are two brands that make this flavour of yogurt.


1.5 cups blueberry-pomegranate yogurt

1/2 cup cooked broccoli florets OR 1/3 cup cooked spinach (squeezed & drained)

1 small banana

If using spinach, add 2 tbsp. lime juice (one lime yields 2 - 3 tbsp. worth)


Cook or steam broccoli florets or spinach (I use leftovers). Rinse with cold water, drain and set aside.

In a blender, add yogurt, banana, lime juice and broccoli florets (or spinach). Puree until smooth.

Grab the Zoku base unit from your freezer, add the sticks, and fill the reservoirs to the fill line. Wait 10 minutes and remove. Repeat with the remaining smoothie liquid and allow 15 minutes to freeze. (You can make a couple more ice pops or drink the rest - just be sure to allow 20 minutes for the third freeze time).

Mocha Ice Pops

I use Yoplait Original coffee flavoured yogurt

My New Zoku!
Credit: jamieanne on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

Zoku Quick Pops Recipe Book

Zoku Quick Pops Recipe Book RoseWrites 2014-05-02 4.5 0 5

Zoku Quick Pops Recipe Book

For those of you more talented than I

Zoku Quick Pops Recipe Book
Amazon Price: $16.95 Buy Now
(price as of May 28, 2014)
This 96 page book provides 41 family-approved recipes. The collection includes: Chai, mint chip, cookie dough, marble cheesecake, key lime pie, over a dozen chocolate ice pop recipes and more. One reviewer noted that vanilla greek yogurt makes a healthy substitute in recipes that call for vanilla pudding. There are 13 varieties of fruit pops with helpful tips and techniques to really "dress them up."