Pineapple Whip Ice Pops

20130619-150446.jpg

I love going to Disney World. I know it’s all manufactured happiness, but sometimes I really need that. Walking mascots to hug? I’m in. Lunch with princesses? Absolutely. Fake safari rides? Save me a seat.

Two of my favorite treats at Disney are the chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream pops in the shape of Mickey’s head and a frozen pineapple sorbet-ish treat called a Dole Whip. The ingredients in a Dole Whip are not very nutritious, but I’ve made my own ice pops to taste just like them–but without the sugar overload and preservatives. Now I can try to recreate the happiest place on earth in my own kitchen.

It’s a small world, after all…

Pineapple Whip Ice Pops (makes 10, 3 ounce popsicles)          One ice pop has 49 calories, 0.3 grams of fat and 39% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C.

  • 1 lb. fresh, chopped pineapple (or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup vanilla or honey flavored organic Greek yogurt
  • 1-2 cups soy milk (exact amount will depend on how juicy your pineapple is)
  1. Put pineapple, yogurt and 1 cup of soy milk in a high powered blender. Blend until very smooth. Add more soy milk if needed to thin the mixture enough to blend.
  2. Pour mixture into ice pop molds. Freeze 4-6 hours or overnight.
  3. Unmold and create your own happy place.

Fettuccine with Faux-fredo Sauce

20130619-135454.jpg

Alfredo sauce is a lovely thing if you aren’t cautious about your fat intake. Heavy on the cream, butter and cheese, it is definitely not health food. So I was thrilled and surprised to see THIS post on cauliflower Alfredo sauce from Heather at Sugar Dish Me. Could it be true???

Well, I’m here to tell you, not only is it true, it’s truly delicious!

We made a delicious pasta with spinach fettuccine from Melina’s Pasta, organic mushrooms and leftover pork from a previous dinner. It was so good–no overt cauliflower flavor–just creamy loveliness that coated the pasta nicely. And unlike a true Alfredo sauce, this is just 30 calories per 1/2 cup serving. I took leftovers for lunch and it was just as good the next day. This sauce would be great in rice dishes as well.

HERE is the link to the original recipe from fellow blogger Pinch of Yum. You have to read her post about this sauce–it is funny and educational! We have nicknamed this sauce Faux-fredo sauce and it is going into the regular rotation!

We mixed this sauce with sautéed mushrooms, onions and leftover grilled pork and served it over some of our local spinach fettuccine from Melina’s Pasta. Great dinner and great leftovers for lunch!

Week 25 Budget and Menu

20130619-110137.jpg

My treat from the market–fresh strawberry agua fresca from Bo Ku!

The blackberries are here! The blackberries are here! I am so glad to see blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches and melons all making their market appearances this week!!! And corn. Yum. This is the time of year I just eat myself into oblivion.

This week’s budget takes advantage of some wonderful produce that is available, as well as some lovely, locally made pimento cheese ravioli! I hope to be posting the recipes for the fish, spicy blackberry sauce and eggplant this week, so watch for them!

Our budget this week is over by $11.71, but we are out of some key staples like organic cane sugar, kosher salt and olive oil, so we are stocking up this week. Thank goodness for Trader Joes!

Did you know you can keep up with SOLE Food Kitchen on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn? Follow us, “like” us and be a part of the conversation!

Budget [$111.71]

  • The Produce Box (grape tomatoes, eggplant, ORGANIC: blackberries, blueberries, chard, yellow potatoes, string beans, beets): $39.50
  • Melina’s Pasta (pimento cheese ravioli): $6.00
  • Hillsborough Cheese Company (mozzarella): $6.00
  • Mae Farm (brats): $8.00
  • Locals Seafood (red drum fillets): $18.00
  • Trader Joes (prosciutto, frozen fruit, yogurt, butter, Parmesan cheese, organic cane sugar, salt, olive oil, Ezekiel bread): $34.21

Menu

  • Wednesday–Leftover pasta with cauliflower sauce
  • Thursday–Working late
  • Friday–Roasted beet salad with goat cheese
  • Saturday–Fish with cherry tomatoes, green beans, potatoes
  • Sunday–Healthy eggplant “lasagna”
  • Monday–Grilled brats with blackberry ketchup, roasted potatoes
  • Tuesday–Pimento cheese ravioli with crispy prosciutto and pecans

Tutorial Tuesday #3–10 Tips for Efficient Farmers Market Shopping

20130617-155642.jpg

Welcome to another Tutorial Tuesday!

Note: The photo above is from one of the many little neighborhood fresh markets in Paris. Interestingly, families in Paris don’t shop once a week or once a month–they shop several times a week and buy what is fresh. This is easier because most people walk to and from work (or the metro) and the markets are everywhere. If I could walk past a bakery and purchase fresh bread every few days, I certainly would do it!

Shifting your food shopping from the grocery store to the farmer’s market can present some challenges. You don’t always know what you’ll find at the market (especially when you’re first starting out) and you do need to have a bit more flexibility in your meal planning. Continuing the theme of how to shop efficiently and affordably while still eating local, I have 10 tips from our own family experience!

Tip One–Know your farmers, know your farmers, know your farmers.

Before starting our locavore journey, my only experience with asking produce questions was asking the “produce manager” in our local grocery store, who usually knew almost nothing about produce or cooking. So, I was pretty shy and hesitant about asking farmers information. I thought it might be rude. But you know what? Farmers LIKE answering questions and they LOVE talking about what they grow. And guess what else? Many of them cook this food themselves! Also, farmers, in my limited experience, are pretty practical folks. If you say you’re on a budget and you have xx to spend on vegetables, they can give you lots of ideas for how to stretch your dollars and feed your family. Try THAT at your local grocery store!

Tip Two–Use Social Media

You know those picture books with Farmer Brown plowing a field with oxen or riding in a horse and buggy? Well, those books need a major update. Most farmers who sell to local markets are pretty media savvy (or at least they are getting there). They probably have a Facebook page, an email newsletter and/or Twitter account. Crazy, right? I get weekly postings on what is available from local farmers and farmer’s markets in my area. That saves me a LOT of time when planning menus because I’m not guessing at what I’ll find.

Tip Three–Pre-order the Important Stuff

Related to Tip Two, I’ve found that I can easily pre-order cuts of meat, types of cheese, seafood, eggs and large amounts of produce (like strawberries for jam) and pick them up at my local farmer’s market. Farmer’s like this because they know they are bringing items to market that will be sold. And I love it because I don’t have to get to the market only to find out that no one has any chicken breasts left.

Tip Four–Allow Flexibility for the Unexpected

From menu planning/shopping system, you might think I’m a control freak. Well, that would be partially true, but I also love getting to the market and finding out that something new is available. If I’ve planned my menu right (see below), I may be able to add something unexpected into our menu. Or maybe it becomes a lunch snack. I can also make a note of it and work it in next week. The point is, don’t make yourself so controlled that you miss the beauty of the market.

One example of this is my Slightly Badass Blackberry Jam. Be open to the possibilities as long as you can use the produce!

Tip Five–Incorporate Some “Go-To” Flexible Recipes

I have plenty of recipes (roast chicken) in my culinary tool box that are pretty straightforward, simple and easy on the brain. I like to have some other, flexible, veggie-loving recipes that are always in rotation and can use almost anything in the refrigerator. These recipes are a good way to use up what’s left at the end of the week and a great way to incorporate those unexpected purchases. Here are some examples:

  • Stir-fry (one protein + chopped up veggies + onion + a whole grain)
  • Quiche/frittata (basic quiche/frittata recipe + 1 c. vegetables)
  • Pizza (one whole wheat crust + 2 c. chopped veggies + sauce/olive oil + cheese)
  • Roasted vegetables and pasta (16 oz. pasta + 2-3 c. roasted veggies + sauce/olive oil + cheese)
  • Saladpalooza (bowl of washed greens + assortment of chopped veggies + 1 protein + dressing)
  • Soup (4 c. chicken stock + pasta/rice + 3 c. sautéed vegetables)
  • Quesadillas (2 tortillas + fat-free refried beans + 1 c. sautéed vegetables + cheese + salsa)

These are all recipes that can use unlimited combinations of vegetables, grains and protein, making the most of what is seasonal and available!

Tip Six–Shop With a List

Now that I’ve addressed flexibility, once you have your list, stick to it unless you are POSITIVE you will use it. Back away from the impulse purchases that have no relationship to your menu. If you don’t have a recipe that will accommodate, say, rutabegas, and you can’t freeze them for later (see below), then do not buy them. I mean it…scoot, scoot!

Tip Seven–Make Use of What You Have

Americans throw away an obsene amount of food each year. Sometimes it happens that I get a huge amount of one vegetable in our Produce Box and it’s more than we can eat right away. Or maybe we have a last-minute change of plans and we don’t end up eating all our meals. In this case, the freezer is your best friend. Rather than throw away chicken because we didn’t make a big dinner, I can roast or bake it while we’re finishing up homework, take it off the bone and freeze it for later. Or, like last week when I received WAY more spring onions that we needed, I chopped them up, bagged them in freezer bags in 1 cup servings and froze them for later. Greens, like collards, mustard greens, kale and turnip greens, can also be cooked and frozen to eat later. Don’t waste that produce!

Tip Eight–Stock Up and Put It Up

Eating locally does not mean surviving on nothing but sweet potatoes and collard greens all winter. You can enjoy local peaches in February, delicious local corn in December and turnips in July. You just have to plan ahead. We’re new at this, but it’s already become a very enjoyable part of our farmer’s market trips. Food preservation is one of the oldest culinary skills around and guess what? It’s fun! You have three options when preserving your precious bounty–canning, freezing and drying. When fruits and vegetables are at their peak, stock up (prices are also lowest at this time) and save those wonderful flavors for later. You will save money and get high quality, delicious food all year-long!

Tip Nine–Ask. And Then Ask Again!

The local food network in my area (and I’m willing to bet in yours, too) is a close-knit community of farmers, chefs, bakers, cheese makers, etc. If you want something and can’t find it, ask around. I was amazed at what I learned once I started asking. Somehow in my mind, I thought that our local food producers would be highly secretive and competitive. While there may be some competition going on out there, the people I have found are pretty straight up. If I want something they don’t have, they don’t try to sell me something else. They tell me who has it. Sometimes they’ll actually walk me down to the other vendor and help me out. Crazy. And lovely.

Tip Ten–Realize That Sometimes You’ll Blow It

I’m human. And I love seafood. So when fresh seafood starts coming to our local market in the early spring, I go a little crazy. And going a little crazy usually means I blow my budget. Maybe even by a lot. I think this spring we had an entire week of nothing but seafood. At the end of the day, though, it’s like a fun celebration of the end of winter and the beginning of lighter foods on our menu. As long as it’s not a usual occurrence, we’re ok. We make up for it over the next few weeks and we calm down our purchases. So stay on budget, but don’t let an occasional celebration ruin your joy.

What are your tips and strategies?? I’d love to hear them!

What would you like to see in next week’s tutorial?

Blueberry Lemon Jam

20130617-080549.jpgBlueberries are awesome little powerhouses of nutrition. High in antioxidants, fiber and vitamins, they are sweet little health heroes. For me, as much as I like blueberries, I tend to like them better when paired with another flavor. Unlike our local blackberries, blueberries are just a bit too sweet for me. When partnered up with a more tart flavor, their sweetness is a bit more in balance. I love the combination of blueberry and lemon (and our blueberry-rhubarb combinations this spring were terrific also). So this weekend, I made a new jam experiment with just blueberry and lemon. The result? I think the blueberries taste far better in this jam than in plain blueberry itself! The lemon and lemon zest really brings out the brightness of the berries. This is a keeper!

One of the wonderful things about making jam with blueberries is that a lot of the work is done for you. Unlike strawberries, which require hulling and chopping, blueberries just need a quick wash and a check for any remaining little stems and you’re ready. Also, blueberries have a lot of natural pectin, so you don’t have to use any pectin at all, unless you’re in a hurry.

This recipe uses two kinds of lemon juice–bottled lemon juice (this is to provide enough acid in the jam that the jam will remain shelf stable) and fresh lemon juice and zest (for fresh lemon flavor). This is one place you want to buy an organic lemon. Actually, any time you are zesting citrus, you want to use an organic or pesticide-free fruit because you are using the part of the fruit that is most exposed to pesticides and toxins.

Blueberry Lemon Jam (makes 5-6 half pints)

  • 8 cups fresh blueberries (preferably pesticide free)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice**
  • Juice and zest from one organic lemon
  1. Fill a canning pot with water, insert the rack and add 6 half pint canning jars. Heat over high to boiling, then turn off heat and let sit until you are ready.
  2. Wash the blueberries in cool water and pick off any remaining stem pieces.
  3. Put the washed, wet blueberries into a non-reactive stock pot and heat over medium. Mash berries with a potato masher several times while cooking.
  4. When blueberries and juice come to a low boil, add the sugar, lemon juices and zest. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.
  5. Turn heat down a bit and keep blueberries at a low boil, stirring frequently, for about 45 minutes or until the berry mixture gels.
  6. Remove hot jars from the canning pot (carefully!) and set them on a clean tea towel. Put the jar lids into a bowl and pour some of the hot water over them to cover.
  7. Carefully ladle jam into the hot jars, leaving 1/4″ of headspace. Add lids and bands, just tighten bands to finger tightness.
  8. Return the filled jars to the canning pot, cover pot, and heat over high to boiling. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, remove cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.
  9. Remove jars from the hot water bath and let sit undisturbed for 24 hours. Check seals and store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.

**You can use fresh lemon juice, but because bottled juice is more consistent in its acid content, the bottled stuff may be more reliable.

The Not-So-Sweet Side of Honey

kişisel resim Ελληνικά: κηρήθρα

Think you are avoiding high fructose corn syrup and toxins by sweetening your whole food recipes with natural honey? You may be surprised to find that what you are eating is actually NOT pure honey, but ultra filtered, diluted honey mixed with high fructose corn syrup and other additives. Not only that, your “honey” may include carcinogens and heavy metals. Yes, even if it says “honey” on the label.

Why?

The FDA requires that any substance labeled as “honey” include bee pollen. That is the only way to ensure that the honey is pure and that it came from an identifiable source. The problem is, the FDA doesn’t test any substance labeled “honey” to make sure it actually includes pollen. Well that just makes sense, right?

So companies outside the U.S. have been taking honey, ultra-filtering it (removing most of its healthy benefits), adding all kinds of filler junk and selling it to U.S. grocery chains in those cute little bear bottles as honey. This is especially concerning for pregnant women and small children, as it takes less toxic materials to impact small, growing bodies.

In 2011, Food Safety News tested more than 70 brands of honey for pollen. This is what they found:

•76 percent of samples bought at groceries had all the pollen removed, These were stores like TOP Food, Safeway, Giant Eagle, QFC, Kroger, Metro Market, Harris Teeter, A&P, Stop & Shop and King Soopers.

•100 percent of the honey sampled from drugstores like Walgreens, Rite-Aid and CVS Pharmacy had no pollen.

•77 percent of the honey sampled from big box stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target and H-E-B had the pollen filtered out.

•100 percent of the honey packaged in the small individual service portions from Smucker, McDonald’s and KFC had the pollen removed.

•Bryant found that every one of the samples Food Safety News bought at farmers markets, co-ops and “natural” stores like PCC and Trader Joe’s had the full, anticipated, amount of pollen.

And if you have to buy at major grocery chains, the analysis found that your odds are somewhat better of getting honey that wasn’t ultra-filtered if you buy brands labeled as organic. Out of seven samples tested, five (71 percent) were heavy with pollen. All of the organic honey was produced in Brazil, according to the labels.

So what is a honey-loving family to do? Here are some steps you can take to make sure that the honey you buy is actual honey and not Chinese high fructose corn syrup:

  1. Purchase your honey from a local farmer or at a local farmer’s market.
  2. Ask farmers about how they process their honey. You should buy raw or minimally processed honey if possible.
  3. Purchase your honey from a health food store (Whole Foods or Trader Joes, for example)
  4. If you purchase at the grocery store, buy honey labeled as organic.
  5. Avoid purchasing honey from a drug store or major discount store.

For more information and a list of products that were tested and did not contain pollen, click HERE.

Week 24 Budget and Menu

Summer, summer, summer is here! Not “officially”, I know, but in reality we are in lovely, lovely summer here in central North Carolina. The markets are bursting with goodness and we are in high blueberry season once again! What is your favorite food of summer? I think mine is ripe tomatoes, but I love it all.

This week’s menu focuses on some rather quick dinners as we are still finishing up softball season and games invariably fall around supper time. We are having some delicious fish this week and some grilled pork with our new mango cardamom jam–I can’t wait!!!

Our little garden is coming along, but we have much more success in our yard with a winter garden. I think the plants benefit from the leaves coming off the trees in our yard. Still, we plant our tomatoes and squash and cucumber and hope for the best!

Budget [$105.92]

  • The Produce Box (ALL ORGANIC: blueberries, potatoes, kale, broccoli, Napa cabbage, sugar snap peas, cauliflower): $26.50
  • Locals Seafood (mackerel fillets): $12.00
  • Mae Farm (pork chops): $15.00
  • Hillsborough Cheese Company (mozzarella): $6.00
  • Melina’s Pasta (spinach fettuccine): $6.00
  • Wild Onion Farm (organic cucumber, organic yellow squash): $4.00
  • Old Milbourne Farm (fennel): $2.00
  • Homestead Harvest Farm (eggs): $5.00
  • Trader Joes (frozen fruit, yogurt, soy milk, olives, salt): $29.42

Menu

  • Wednesday–Game Night! Overnight blueberry oatmeal (really)
  • Thursday–Chicken & veggie stir fry w/ spicy peanut sauce, rice
  • Friday–Napa salad with vegetables and leftover peanut sauce
  • Saturday–Fish with tomatoes and fennel, roasted new potatoes
  • Sunday–Grilled pork chops w/mango cardamom jam, zucchini
  • Monday–Game Night! Bagel pizzas with homemade roasted tomato sauce and Hillsborough Cheese Co. Mozzarella
  • Tuesday–Spinach fettuccine with cauliflower cream sauce, mushrooms and leftover pork chops

Have a wonderful week, get out to your local farmer’s markets and cook some wonderful, healthy foods!

Mango Cardamom Jam

20130610-140217.jpg

I love homemade jam on my Ezekiel Bread for breakfast, but I also love to bake, grill and roast with jam or just dump it all over a hunk of cream cheese and eat it with crackers. YUM. All our jams are low-sugar (not sugar substitute) and they have lovely, intense flavors that pair well with meat, fish, cakes, muffins, etc. I’m even experimenting with using them in popsicles!

This Mango Cardamom Jam is really, really special. It is simultaneously sweet, tart and savory, if you can believe it. I used the basic “build your own jam” guidelines from THIS website from Pomona’s Universal Pectin and added fragrant ground cardamom to the mango jam (kind of like our Mango Lassi Ice Pops). It is delicious and would be great spooned over vanilla ice cream. Highlighting it’s savory characteristics, we are planning to use it on a grilled pork tenderloin this next week. Or, maybe I’ll just buy some goat cheese…or glaze some vegetables…or…

Mango Cardamom Jam (makes about 6 half pint jars)

  • 8 cups peeled, pitted and cubed fresh (or frozen) organic mango
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice**
  • 1 1/2 cups organic sugar
  • 6 teaspoons Pomona’s Universal Pectin
  • 8 teaspoons calcium water (comes with the pectin)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  1. Fill a canning pot with water, insert the rack and add 6 half pint canning jars. Heat over high to boiling, then turn off heat and let sit until you are ready.
  2. In a bowl, combine the sugar and pectin. Set aside.
  3. Make the calcium water, if you aren’t using some that is already prepared. Set aside.
  4. Put peeled, pitted and chopped mango into a non-reactive stock pot along with a splash or two of water. Heat over medium, stirring often to prevent sticking.
  5. When mango has cooked about 3-4 minutes, use a potato masher to mash the mango (I also use a stick blender to really get all the larger pieces mashed).
  6. Add the calcium water, lemon juice and cardamom to the pot. Stir well.
  7. Add the sugar/pectin mixture slowly to the pot. Stir well until sugar is dissolved. Bring mixture to a low boil.
  8. Stir pot and pull pot off the heat. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes.
  9. Remove jars from the canning pot (carefully!) and set them on a clean tea towel. Put the jar lids into a bowl and pour some of the hot water over them to cover.
  10. Carefully ladle jam into the hot jars, leaving 1/4″ of headspace. Add lids and bands, just tighten bands to finger tightness.
  11. Return the filled jars to the canning pot, cover pot, and heat over high to boiling. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, remove cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.
  12. Remove jars from the hot water bath and let sit undisturbed for 24 hours. Check seals and store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.

**You can use fresh lemon juice, but because bottled juice is more consistent in its acid content, the bottled stuff may be more reliable.

Tutorial Tuesday #2–Asking Questions at the Market

20130610-171309.jpg

Welcome to what I hope will become Tutorial Tuesday! These short tutorials are designed to answer questions I get from readers about shopping at the farmer’s market and changing where our household groceries come from.

This tutorial is all about how to approach farmers/vendors at the market. We’ll go over what questions you can ask to help you find out where the fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy come from, how they are grown and what the farm’s protocols look like (protocol in this sense refers to the rules the farm uses when handling food–or what will become your food).

Asking people questions about the food they grow/raise and are selling themselves can seem a little intimidating. If you’re like me, you don’t want to seem rude or act as though you’re interrogating a suspect on CSI. You don’t want to be “THAT girl,” (or “THAT dude”), right?

Well, take a deep breath, pour yourself a cup of coffee and relax. ‘Cause the farmer’s market is a big ol’ happy place and people are genuinely glad to see you! In fact, farmer’s markets are some of the most social places I’ve been outside of food truck rodeos. If you are a rather…focused…shopper, this chattiness might make you uncomfortable, but it is part of the fun and really, it’s nice to see people actually talking and enjoying each other’s company. You can always head to your nearest grocery store self-checkout line later if you need some anonymity.

Here are some tips for being a proactive (but not rude-y) shopper. Let’s start with three things I have learned about farmers:

  1. Farmers Are Glad to See You. Farmers are not at the market to stand around and wait until their break time. There is no time clock to be punched. They are there to sell the products of their farms–something they are very proud of. And guess what? They actually PAY to be at the market so you can get your fresh veggies. I only know one grumpy farmer/vendor and even he’s grown on me some. Ninety nine percent of the farmers at the market are going to go all out to make you happy. ‘Cause if you’re not happy, they are going home with produce in their truck and that is not happy either.
  2. Farmers Are Proud of How They Run Their Farms. Asking a farmer, “What do you have that is pesticide-free?” or “Is your farm organic?” are perfectly fair and expected questions. If a farmer is not certified organic, they will tell you. And if the ARE, you will probably see a sign somewhere letting you know. Same with asking questions about antibiotics/growth hormones and meat. If they use them, they will tell you (and tell you why), but they won’t be put off by a question. In fact…
  3. Farmers LOVE Questions. Have you ever asked questions in the produce area of your local grocery store only to have the teenage “produce specialist” shrug or say “I don’t know…I don’t cook”. I hate that. Put that child to work stocking the Pop Tart aisle. The farmers I know absolutely love to answer questions about their produce and they often have lots of recipe ideas (even if they don’t cook)–and they will want to hear yours as well!

So what questions should you ask? Here are some terrific questions to ask at the market. These are printable handouts from The Sustainable Table, a truly wonderful resource! Whatever questions you ask, if you are friendly, you will get friendly right back.

Questions to ask a farmer (general).

Questions to ask produce farmers.

Questions to ask a poultry farmer.

Questions to ask a hog farmer.

Questions to ask a dairy farmer.

Questions to ask a beef farmer.

My recommendation is to pick two or three questions to ask each vendor in a given farmer’s market visit (unless you like looking like Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes). If you are at the market with your family, have each person (including the children) pick one question to ask each farmer they meet. Most children like to have a job and it gives them a fun, if somewhat scripted, way to interact with farmers as people (and one question is easy to remember). Teaching them to be proactive shoppers gives you parenting bonus points–and your results will make for lots of fun conversation on the way home!

I hope this tutorial has been helpful. Let me know! What else would you like to know about?

Next week’s tutorial will focus on the practical–how to manage your weekly menu when you’re not sure what you’ll find at the market.

Mango Lassi Ice Pops

20130609-104222.jpg

Hello, Bollywood? You need to roll out the red carpet for these Mango Lassi Ice Pops. They are big stars, I tell you.

Have you ever had a mango lassi? Mango lassi is an incredibly refreshing Indian beverage, very similar to an American milk shake or smoothie, but without the heavy dairy fat and sugar. When Ellie was little, the owner of a local Indian restaurant we frequented usually offered her a mango lassi. She could never finish it, so I finished them for her (you know, a mother’s sacrifices are endless). Mango lassis use fresh mango, yogurt and cardamom, resulting in a sweet and spicy combination that is delicious, especially in the heat of summer. Why they aren’t a popular drink in North Carolina–where it gets about as hot as India–is beyond me.

These Mango Lassi Ice Pops are cool, creamy and delicious. They are also gluten-free and sugar free. Spiced with cardamom, they are just a teensy bit spicy in that lovely floral way that cardamom infuses everything. You can leave the cardamom out, but I encourage you to give it a try–it really makes something good, extraordinary.

A word about mango: I use frozen organic mango from Trader Joes, but you could also use fresh mango if you have ripe mangoes available. If you have an Indian grocery nearby, buy your mangoes there–they will have a greater variety of mangoes than the typical American grocery store.

This recipe makes about 1/2 cup more than you need for the ice pops, so the chef gets a treat at the end 🙂

I am listing this recipe under “breakfast as well because if you serve what comes from the blender, it would be a nice lassi smoothie!

Mango Lassi Ice Pops (makes 10, 3 ounce ice pops)
Each ice pop has 51 calories and .9 grams of fat and 2.6 grams of protein

* 4 cups peeled and chopped ripe mango or organic frozen mango
* 6 ounces organic Greek yogurt
* 2 cups organic almond milk or soy milk
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
* 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Put all ingredients in a good quality blender (I use my trusty Vitamix). Blend until smooth.
2. Fill your ice pop mold and freeze several hours or overnight.
3. Unmold ice pops and enjoy!

%d bloggers like this: