Summer is almost here!

With summer just around the corner what better way to get in the mood than whipping up some healthy and delicious homemade popsicles! Here’s a recipe I’ve adapted from the People’s Pops recipe book.  You can substitute any fruit - just be sure to use the ripest ones as they have the most flavor/sugar content (mushy and bruised is good!).

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You’ll need to purchase a popsicle moldpopsicle sticks and guar gum (optional, but this helps keep ice crystals from forming and makes for a smoother pop - you can also use this to thicken sauces instead of cornstarch. Just don’t use too much or your pops will feel slimy!). 

Fruit Mixture:

  • 1 c. fruit puree
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ½ c. simple syrup
  • ½ Tsp. guar gum 

Yogurt Mixture: 

  • 1 c. greek yogurt 
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ c. simple syrup
  • + any spices 

To make simple syrup combine equal parts sugar and boiling water - stir until the sugar dissolves. If you’re just making enough for one batch combine ⅔ c. sugar with ⅔ c. boiling water (= 1 c.). This is the time to infuse your simple syrup with flavors like, mint, ginger, lemon etc… Get creative! 

Once you’ve combined your fruit and yogurt mixtures separately you’re ready to fill the molds (I like to use a spoon). Starting with the fruit mixture fill each mold ⅓ of the way full then add your yogurt mixture until it’s all gone. Top with the remaining fruit mixture.

Now take a popsicle stick and gently blend the fruit and yogurt together. This will create nice a swirled effect. Afterwards, place the top of the mold on and insert your popsicle sticks so there is about 1 ½ inches sticking out. Place on a level freezer shelf and freeze for at least 4 hrs. 

Once frozen, just dip or spray the bottom part of the mold in hot water for 15-20 seconds and firmly pull the pop from the mold.

Viola! Perfectly made pops - enjoy!  

- Jessica

Recipe of the Day | Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili

There’s nothing better than curling up with a hot bowl of homemade chili on a cold rainy day. Traditionally made with hight fat (60/40) beef it isn't exactly the healthiest option. So here’s a recipe packed full with flavor, nutrients and a fraction of the fat that you can feel good about next time you want something warming on a cold day.

This is by far one of my favorite recipes discovered on Pinterest (via http://www.milkfreemom.com).  I like to add whole cumin seeds to the oil once it’s heated but before I add the onions and garlic - the seeds become extremely aromatic and add depth and almost a meat-like flavor found in traditional beef chili, more so than just adding the ground cumin. You won’t even miss the meat - trust me! Then I top it off with freshly made pico de gallo, avocado, sharp cheddar cheese (optional) and either low-fat sour cream or non-fat greek yogurt (which tastes surprisingly similar with more protein and less calories). I also like to serve this with Trader Joe’s cornbread - substituting the oil for water (yes, it works just fine - promise!). 

Vegan Quinoa & Sweet Potato Chili - makes 6 hearty bowls of chili

one 29 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
one 6 oz can tomato paste
32 oz vegetable stock
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks (I usually use two!)
1 cup dry quinoa
salt and pepper to taste
avocado, cilantro for garnish  (optional)

Heat the oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium low heat. Add onions, and cook until soft and they start to turn brown (about 10 minutes). Add the garlic, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and oregano and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the beans, stock, and potatoes, and season with salt and pepper . Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the quinoa. Continue cooking for about 15 minutes – 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until quinoa and potatoes are cooked and the chili has thickened. Add a bit of water if the chili becomes too thick for your liking. Top with avocado and chopped cilantro. Scrumptious!

Click HERE for the original link and nutrition information.