strawberry, honey and banana creamsicles
Summer has settled in over the last couple of weeks, brilliant clear skies and ever-lengthening dusks. Water parks have opened for the season and county fairs abound. I'm dressing Isabelle in t-shirts and shorts so I can enjoy her chubby arms and legs before they lengthen and thin away into little-girlhood.
One very warm (shall we say hot)weekend we made it down to Sunset's Celebration Weekend in Palo Alto. This yearly event has the magazine throwing open its doors for the public to visit its gorgeous, California ranch-style campus, see food demos, get home and garden inspiration from exhibits and talks, and enjoy some wine and music. Basically, a great kickoff to the summer festival months.
Sunset's amazing outdoor kitchen where they were serving up pizza from their wood fired ovens. Total envy for this gorgeous space.
Top Chef alum Fabio Viviani does a cooking demo for an adoring crowd.
Kids found plenty to amuse them; here they turned a fountain display into a toddler water play area. It was toasty hot - could you blame them?
Isabelle looked so hot that I finally relented and let her have one of the free fruit popsicles they were handing out. Wow, was that a revelation for her - she ate that thing lickety split and held out her hand for more!
Besides the free popsicles, there was a make-your-own Italian soda bar courtesy of Torani. Isabelle got to try her first fizzy water - I think she found it a little too tingly!
After seeing how much Isabelle loved the fruit popsicles, I was inspired to make some at home to help her stay cool during these warm days. Bonus: they're great for when they're teething, too!
These popsicles are almost embarrassingly easy to make, but when you have a mobile toddler demanding constant attention and you didn't get your grocery store run in for the day, a dessert that almost makes itself is a lifesaver.
Since they're meant to be kid-friendly, I used as little sugar as possible: the strawberries are sweetened with honey, which give them a lovely lazy-hot-June vibe, and the bananas are mixed with yogurt and a touch of agave syrup.
The trickiest and most time-consuming part is making the layers. Just like with ice cream, if you chill the fruit mixtures first, they will freeze faster in the molds. Budget about 25-30 minutes for each layer to set enough before you pour the next layer. If you're short on time, you can reduce the number of layers. Also, having your fruit mixtures in a cup with a pouring spout will make it much easier to fill the molds in a controlled fashion.
These popsicles are full size - I think I'll pick up some mini-size molds next that are more toddler-portioned, but believe it or not Isabelle powered through a whole bar on her own. You can see the determination on her face. She's definitely developed a will of her own in the last few months!
P.S.You'll probably notice I haven't got a photo of her smiling with a popsicle, either at the festival or at home. I tried really hard, but when it's just you and a camera and a baby, it's tricky! I think she was still getting used to their chill: she would bite into it and screw up her face at the cold, but she'd keep at it because it was so tasty and she didn't want to give it up. Babies-hilarious!
Thanks for the summer kickstart, Sunset! Isabelle hit her nap time wall so we had to leave before we could see everything, including the famous test gardens, but hopefully I'll be back for a return visit and more inspiration!
Disclosure: I received free tickets to the Sunset Celebration Weekend. All opinions in this post are my own.
- 300 g strawberries
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 ripe bananas (about 1/2 pound or 8 oz)
- 1/2 cup plain or Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Wash, hull and slice the strawberries into quarters (rough is fine; you are pureeing them so cutting them into smaller pieces is just to make the pureeing faster).
- Combine strawberries, honey, and lemon juice in food processor. Puree until smooth. Add more honey if the strawberries aren't sweet enough. Pour out strawberries into a container, preferably with a pouring spout.
- Cut bananas into slices (again, just to make the pureeing process faster). Place in food processor and puree until smooth.
- Add yogurt, agave syrup, and lemon juice and puree until smooth and combined. Pour out mixture into a container, preferably with a pouring spout.
- Alternate pouring strawberry and banana mixtures into popsicle molds (this recipe will make about eight standard size - about 3 oz - popsicles), letting each layer freeze for about 30 minutes before adding the next. The first layer may take longer to freeze if the fruit was not chilled. Chill the mixtures while waiting for the first popsicle layers to freeze to shorten freezing times for the next layers.
- Once the final layer is poured, insert popsicle sticks (layers should still be soft enough to push through) and freeze an additional 2-3 hours for popsicles to fully set.