-A Classic Summer Treat Revisited

   As a brand-new mom of two, I have had recent reason to think upon many of the things that I enjoyed as a child. Living in Texas, with our harsh summers, my mother often tried finding ways to help me beat the heat and still enjoy time outdoors. One classic DIY treat we always made were Kool-Aid popsicles – boy were they tasty!
   But being a new mom in the 21st century we now know that we have to be more careful when it comes to controlling what our children ingest, what with all the new information regarding the dyes, preservatives, and food additives that are included in our foods – and the effects such ingredients have on our health.
   So how do we recreate memories such as the home-made popsicle and still adhere to our “no-strings-attached” approach to a healthy diet? By simply being a little more creative when it comes to the ingredients we choose! I have included a simple, sure-to-impress recipe for you to try for yourself… and with your children!

The Basic Home-made Popsicle
-This recipe can be re-worked in many different ways to create your own special treat.

You will need:

Any Brand, All-Natural, No-Sugar-Added Juice-
   Pick your own personal favorite, such as grape, pineapple, or the classic apple. Be sure to watch out for brands that add artificial sweeteners such as Splenda or Aspartame as these are often not meant for children and still break down into different sugar forms during digestion.

A Popsicle Mold-
   You can find these at any retail store, even your local dollar store! They often come with their own plastic sticks, nixing the need for the classic wooden ones. For the really frugal moms, you can even use ice-trays or an empty egg carton, resulting in mini-pops – just as yummy and great for toddlers!

Popsicle Sticks (optional)-
   If using your own home-made molds you will need something to hold your pops with. You may also be able to find the miniature wooden sticks that work better with ice-tray pops. If making mini-pops for older children, toothpicks work well, but make sure they are aware of the risk of being poked by them.

Aluminum Foil (optional)-
   Material such as this is required if you wish for your sticks to stand up-right.

Making the Pops:

Step 1: 
   Thoroughly clean any materials with mild soap and water and rinse well. Make sure to dry them completely to prevent excess water crystals from forming during freezing.

   Fill your molds with your chosen juice.

Step 3:
   Insert sticks. If using home-made molds, cover the container with a piece of aluminum foil, stretched taut, and gently poke your sticks through this layer into the juice. This will allow your sticks to remain suspended appropriately for freezing.

Step 4:
   Place in freezer and allow to set for 3-4 hours. They may set in less time, but the longer you freeze them, the firmer they will be – and the slower they will melt!

Step 5:
   Aid removal from the molds by running cool water over the outside of the mold. Be sure not to get the water on the popsicle itself as this may sabotage your creation by melting it or loosening the stick.

Step 6:

Further Ideas:

   Add a bit of a funky twist to your pops by chopping up bits of fresh fruit and mixing them in your juice before freezing. Or take it a step further and puree your choice of fruit in a blender and replace the juice entirely with this new ingredient. Home-made lemonades also make delicious frozen treats. You can even try freezing different flavors of tea (make sure if you add sugar that you warm the liquid and let the crystals dissolve completely prior to freezing).
   The possibilities are endless! By using a bit of creativity you can make a yummy, and healthy, treat that is sure to put a smile on any child’s face – and make summer memories that are sure to last a lifetime!