So, these popsicles might just be my new favorite summer treat — even though it’s July and actually feels nothing like summer in San Francisco. For those of you not in the Bay area who are absolutely sweltering from the summertime heat and humidity I’m going to apologize in advance — because what I’m about to tell you might make you sweat even more.
When I wrote this post I was sitting in my apartment eating a popsicle… WITH THE HEAT ON.
I kid you not. It was a chilly 65 degrees in the house every morning last week. First, I threw on a sweatshirt. Then, dug out my slippers. You’d think after three years in this city I’d be used to the fact that summer = wind + fog here in San Francisco but clearly, I’m not. The heat was a last resort — but necessary, and worth every eye-roll my husband shot my way last week.
But let’s get back to these popsicles, because I averaged two a day last week and know they don’t last long. Featuring pureed strawberries and blueberries and two creamy vanilla layers with a sweet granola top, these popsicles are made with just a handful of real ingredients — including wholesome milk, a staple you always have at home in your fridge.
Many people may not realize this but milk is one of the original farm-to-table foods! Always having milk on-hand makes it such a simple ingredient to incorporate into your favorite recipes, smoothies, or to simply enjoy by the glass with snacks and meals.
They take a little bit of time to make but really, they’re super simple. The key is freezing the pops until firm after adding each layer. If you don’t you’ll probably end up with pink and purple tie-dye popsicles — though I’m sure they’d still taste delicious.
For nice clean lines I highly recommend using a small syringe to transfer the milk-yogurt mixture and purees into the mold. You mommas out there, you probably have at least a few of these in your medicine cabinet! If you’re cool with a more rustic look, carefully pouring the liquid into the mold works, too.
These patriotic pops will make a cool, nutritious treat to enjoy while you watch the biggest sporting match-up of the summer — even if you have to have the heat on.
Makes 10 (2.5-ounce) popsicles
1/2 cup granola
2 teaspoons brown rice syrup
3/4 cup reduced fat milk
6 ounces fat free vanilla Greek yogurt
1 cup whole strawberries, tops removed
1 1/4 cup blueberries, divided
4 tablespoons water (optional)
Place granola and brown rice syrup in a small bowl and stir well until combined. Press approximately 3/4 tablespoon granola into each popsicle mold using the end of a wooden spoon. Granola should be packed tightly into the bottom of the mold.
In another small bowl, stir together milk and yogurt and set aside.
Using a small food processor or high-powered blender, puree the strawberries until smooth. Stir in a little bit of water into each puree so they are pourable, about 2 tablespoons, more if necessary.
Set aside 30 smaller blueberries and puree the remainder. Again, add water as needed to make it pourable.
For the cleanest lines between layers, use a small syringe, like an infant medicine syringe. If you’ll be pouring the milk and yogurt and purees into the mold, transfer each into small measuring cups with spouts. Store milk and yogurt mixture and purees in the refrigerator when not being used.
To layer the pops, start by pouring, piping or syringing 1 tablespoon (15mL) milk and yogurt mixture into each mold, covering the granola layer. Pouring will give you a more imperfect look whereas a syringe will make for cleaner lines between layers. Put the mold in the freezer and freeze until firm, at least one hour.
Next, layer 1 tablespoon strawberry puree on top of the frozen yogurt layer. Cover the top of the mold with foil, insert the popsicle sticks and freeze again until solid. Remove the foil, add another layer of yogurt and freeze again.
For the final layer, add 1 tablespoon blueberry puree and 3 blueberries to each mold. Freeze until solid. Keep the popsicles in the mold until ready to eat. Run each mold under lukewarm water for ~10 seconds to loosen and remove popsicles. Pops can be made 1 day in advance.
Thanks to the National Milk Life Campaign for sponsoring this delicious post. For more nutritious recipes, head on over to MilkLife.com or connect with them on social via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!
Friends: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your support and reassuring words over the past couple of weeks. Losing a parent has undoubtedly left a big hole in my heart but the kind words and stories you’ve shared about your own experiences with loss have been immensely comforting — especially during those quiet moments when the sadness catches me off-guard. It never ceases to amaze me how caring and supportive this little blog community is — I am so fortunate to be a part of it and to have the support of so many friends, many who I’ve never even met.
In light of everything we’ve been through during the past few weeks, the hubs and I debated cancelling our summer vacation plans. A two week trip to Europe with an 8-month old is a lot to take on and, for a few days, I wasn’t sure I had it in me. But deep down I know my dad would want us to have this adventure. So in the end, we decided to keep our summer vacation plans and boarded a plane to Italy on Saturday afternoon. It was a long, tiring trip for everyone but now that we’re here, we’re so happy we came.
Over the next couple of weeks the hubs and I are looking forward to enjoying some good food and wine in Italy as well as exploring Ireland a bit and attending our friends’ wedding in Kilkenny. This week we’ll be staying in the same teeny tiny little town of Morruzze, where we got married 3 years ago — a time and place in our lives that also brings back so many great memories of my dad. With the timing of everything I now feel like this trip was part of a bigger plan to let me relive some of those happy moments and help my heart heal.
We don’t have a whole lot planned this week other than a couple of day-long outings and maybe one overnight to the eastern coast of Italy, depending on how long it takes the little man to get over his jet lag and how exhausted we are after-the-fact. Right now we’re just looking forward to a relaxing week here in Umbria and whatever adventures these next couple of weeks bring.
On Wednesday afternoon, my father passed away. He was 67.
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve read that line or the number of tears that have rolled down my cheeks this week. Part of it still feels surreal, the other part almost too real. Between his fierce battle against cancer and worsening lung disease, we knew he was very sick — but I suppose nothing prepares you for the gaping hole left in your heart when you lose a parent.
How lucky I am to have been by his side during his final days, though. Just the week before, Noah and I had visited my parents at their home in Rhode Island. Noah hung out on his grandpas bed and drooled all over every one of his remote controls. We laughed a lot — and even celebrated my parents 39th wedding anniversary that week.
I’ll never forget the silence on the other end of the phone when my mom called to give me the news just three days after we had left them. I could hear the tears in her eyes. She told me my dad’s cancer was back. Hospice was now the only option. After we hung up I clung to the only ounce of comfort that came from that conversation, knowing my dad had told my mom he was at peace with it.
Four days later I was back on a plane heading home once again, this time to say a final goodbye to my dad. I arrived at the hospital early on Tuesday morning, just in time to share some final words and smiles with him as well as some great news with the entire family. But things declined quickly that afternoon and, by the time my mom and I left him Tuesday night, I was certain that was the last time I’d hear his voice. My heart filled with joy when he said, “I love you, too,” as we left the room.
My father passed peacefully on Wednesday afternoon — just minutes after my brother and I had said goodbye for the final time. Not long before we left the hospital that day I told my dad I had to “go home to my boys” and that he should do the same. Although he wasn’t physically able to acknowledge those final words, I know he was listening. He was just waiting for us to let him go. We simply couldn’t have asked for or written a better ending to his story.
While his time on this earth was cut short, I can say with certainty that my father lived a very full life. I am blessed to be able to say he saw both my brother and I graduate college, blossom in our careers, marry our best friends and witness the birth of three beautiful grandchildren, two of whom were born within the past 8 months — including little Noah, his first grandson. I know not every father is so lucky.
My dad’s greatest pleasure was watching us, his children, do what we love. Growing up it was sailing, figure skating, soccer and school. In my 20s, it was exploring my own independence. I moved from cold New England to the sunny south, bought my first home and a flame red Wrangler, met my husband and started my graduate studies in nutrition. Now, it’s spending QT with my boys, making delicious messes in my kitchen, writing or reading blogs while the little man naps, curling up on the couch with a good cookbook once he’s gone to bed and snapping photographs of yummy subjects, whether of food or this handsome fella.
One thing my dad also loved was reading this little blog — a space that’s been silent for some time now. I know my excuse is a good one: family, work and this adorable little boy got in the way and, without realizing it, I pushed many of my passions aside.
My dad’s passing this week has reminded me that life is too short not to do what we love. So, in honor of him, I’m getting back to doing more of just that: more writing, more cooking, more photography. This was probably one of the hardest posts I’ve ever written but I know he’s reading every word. Just 728 words in and it already feels like a new beginning.
To the strongest, smartest, handiest man I’ll ever know — Patrick and I are so blessed to have had you as a father. You gave us all of the skills we’ll ever need, whether to navigate our way through life or fix a leaky toilet. I already miss our father-daughter talks and home improvement projects but my heart is full knowing you are resting in peace and comfort now. I already feel you watching over us from above and know you’ll guide me the next time I stumble — or get lost in Home Depot. Love you, Big Guy.