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By Terri Hahn
Journalist 

Summer treats just right for the Fourth of July

 

Fourth of July Parfaits

This week I'm sharing a few cool treats designed with the Fourth of July in mind: They are all red, white and blue!

And they are not only colorful, but created with kids in mind. Most are simple enough for the kids to make (with proper supervision, of course).

All of these recipes were developed by Catherine McCord, author of "The Smoothie Project" and founder of the Weelicious website that focuses on homemade food and treats for kids.

McCord, mother of three, says, "I created Weelicious way back in 2007 as a resource for parents to see how easy it is to expose children to wholesome, delicious homemade food.

"After personally struggling with what to feed my first child when he was an infant, I recognized a 'new mom' dilemma that I could not find a solution for anywhere I searched: simple, nutritious, flavorful recipes for parents to make for their young eaters. Since that resource didn't exist, I put my culinary school degree and life experience as a cook to work and created Weelicious. Over the years, as my children and the children of Weelicious readers got older, I expanded the website to address the mealtime needs of the entire family. My goals are to inspire you with readily available ingredients; recipes that are fast, fresh and easy."

McCord has appeared on numerous TV shows, including "The Chew" and "The Today Show," and writes a monthly column for "Parenting" magazine.

Red, White & Blue Pops

1 (12 ounce) bag frozen blueberries, defrosted

6 tablespoons agave, divided (you can also use honey)

1 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cup milk (you can use cow's milk, almond, rice or soy)

1 (12 ounce) bag frozen raspberries, defrosted

Place defrosted blueberries and 2 tablespoons agave or honey in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour the blueberry puree 1/3 way up each popsicle mold and freeze for 30 to 45 minutes.

Combine the yogurt, milk and 2 tablespoons of agave or honey in a bowl and whisk until smooth.

Pour yogurt mixture 2/3 way up the popsicle molds on top of the blueberry mixture, gently tap to even out the yogurt layer, and freeze for another 30 to 45 minutes.

Place defrosted raspberries and 2 tablespoons agave or honey in a blender and blend until smooth.

Finish the popsicles by pouring the raspberry puree over the yogurt, place sticks in and freeze 6 hours to overnight, until frozen through.

Makes 8 popsicles, depending on the size of your molds.

Because the molds are different sizes, you may have leftovers. You can refrigerate the remaining berry purees and use as toppings for yogurt, granola, pancakes, etc.

Part of the fun of holiday baking is coming up with themes using favorite ingredients. Finding red, white and blue foods can be challenging, but when it comes to dessert it's much easier than you think. Raspberries, blueberries and strawberries are at the top of the list as they mix like magic with fresh cream, vanilla, pound cake and especially angel food cake.

Fourth of July Parfaits

Angel food cake (store bought or homemade)

1 cup strawberries, stemmed & quartered

1 cup raspberries

1 cup blueberries

Coconut whipped cream (recipe follows)

Cut the angel food cake into 2-inch cubes.

Alternately layer the angel food cake, coconut whipped cream, and berries in clear glasses or mason jars so you can see all the colors and textures.

Makes 8 servings.

Coconut Whipped Cream

1 can full fat coconut milk

1 teaspoon powdered sugar

Place the jar of coconut milk in the refrigerator to chill overnight.

Being careful to not shake the can, open the coconut milk.

Spoon out the thick coconut cream into a large bowl, which is about 2/3 of the can. Once you get to the liquid, stop and discard or save for smoothies.

Beat the coconut cream with a hand-held electric or stand mixer for 1 minute.

Add the powdered sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 30 more seconds.

Makes 1-1/2 cups.

4th of July Fruit Wands are stacked with juicy watermelon and sweet blueberries.

4th of July Fruit Wands

1 watermelon

2 pints blueberries

20 skewers

Slice the watermelon into 1/2-inch round slices, and then cut out star shapes using a 3-inch star-shaped cookie cutter.

Gently slide the blueberries on wooden skewers and finally place a watermelon star on the top.

Place the skewers in a tall glass or in decorated floral foam as an eatable centerpiece.

Makes 20 wands.

Note: Fruit wands can be assembled up to one day in advance. Lay out finished wands on a baking sheet, making sure to keep space between each wand. Layer parchment paper or plastic wrap between each layer of wands. Keep in the refrigerator overnight.

Naturally sweetened, bright red Strawberry Popsicles are sure to make your family's eyes light right up.

Strawberry Popsicles

2-1/4 cups strawberries, stems removed (see note)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey or agave

Place the strawberries, lemon juice and honey in a food processor or blender and puree.

Pour several tablespoons into the individual molds. (Follow the manufacturers directions for your mold).

Freeze overnight (or a minimum of 4 to 5 hours).

Makes up to 6 popsicles (depending on the size of your molds).

Note: If your strawberries aren't very sweet you can add honey, agave or sugar to brighten the flavor. (If you're making these for babies or toddlers do not use honey.)

Like ice cream with mix-ins? This is similar except a whole lot healthier. If you've never made frozen yogurt bark before now is the time to do it!

Frozen Yogurt Bark 3 Ways

2 cups whole milk plain Greek yogurt

Red, White and Blue Popsicles

3 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix together the yogurt, honey and vanilla.

Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet in an even layer and sprinkle with desired toppings.

Freeze overnight, then break into pieces and serve.

Topping ideas:

Pomegranate seeds and chocolate chips

Blueberries and almonds (M&M's if desired)

Raspberries and pistachios

It's vegan, gluten free and dairy free and only takes minutes to whip up. It's easiest to make in a strong blender, but can definitely be made in any blender or food processor.

 

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