Nothing hits the spot on a hot summer day like an ice-cold treat. When you make the snack a do-it-yourself project, you've got a fun activity with your children in the cool indoors when it’s sweltering outdoors.
by Kathie Sutin
It’s summer, glorious summer—time for outdoor sports, backyard barbeques, trips to the pool, and chasing fireflies. But when you need a break from all that activity or the heat is just is too much, what better way to chill than with a cool and frosty treat?
Whipping up one of the recipes below is also a fun child parenting activity that you can do in the kitchen when it’s too hot to be outside—or when a rainy day cancels your outdoor plans. Some treats are healthful, some are indulgent. All are kid-tested, easy to make, and delicious. How can you beat that—a project you can eat when it’s done?
Smoothies can be a meal in a glass, a nutritious snack, a pick-me-up, or breakfast on the run.
Commercially produced smoothies are chock-full of sugar. One of the advantages of making your own is that you can control the ingredients that go into your smoothie. That includes reducing the amount of sugar.
Creating a smoothie is an ad-lib process—almost anything goes. Five simple ingredients make for a memorable smoothie:
Toss the ingredients into a blender and blend until, er, smooth.
If you’re a purist, use only fruit and juice. Optionally, you can blend in a few ice cubes at the end to make the drink colder and to thicken it.
Easy Ice Cream
This recipe, which we got from the label on a can of Eagle® brand sweetened condensed milk, makes a delightfully silky smooth chocolaty ice cream without the bother of an ice cream machine. It’s supper easy—the hardest part will be waiting for the yummy concoction to harden in the freezer.
In a large bowl, stir together milk and syrup. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into a foil-lined 9 X 5 loaf pan. Freeze six hours. You can also make this into a pie by pouring the mixture into a cookie-crumb piecrust before freezing.
Here’s another super-simple frosty treat recipe. All you need is one package of chocolate instant pudding. If you’d like a smoother result, add a cup of non-dairy whipped topping or replace the milk called for in the directions with whipping cream.
Prepare the pudding according to directions on the box. Pour into ice pop molds or small paper cups and place in freezer. When the mixture is partially frozen, add a stick to the cup. Return to freezer until firm.
You can tweak the recipe by adding sugar or sugar substitute if you like a sweeter pop or add chocolate syrup for a more chocolaty pop. For variety, experiment with other pudding flavors.
A perennial summertime favorite when it comes to cool things to eat is the frozen banana enrobed in chocolate.
Peel the bananas and cut each one in half width-wise. Insert a stick into the cut area of each piece. Place bananas on a cookie sheet and stick in freezer for an hour or so.
Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler. If the melted chocolate is too thick to work with, thin with a little water.
Take the bananas from the freezer and dip in the chocolate. You need to work quickly because the cold banana will harden the chocolate. If it’s easier, you can spoon the chocolate onto the banana and spread it around until the banana is covered with chocolate. Roll the chocolate-coated banana in nuts or granola for crunch, if desired. You can either eat the banana now or put it back into the freezer until it is thoroughly frozen, about four hours.
The original smoothie may well have been the Orange Julius that was popular at chain stores in malls throughout the country several years ago. Since then, Dairy Queen bought the chain and now sells the drink in some of its Dairy Queen mall stores.
Many recipes trying to replicate the Julius have circulated over the years and have become a favorite in many families. We tweaked one of them into what our kids called “Mom’s Potion.” You can give it a try yourself. We wing the amounts on the ingredients but here’s a general guide for two servings.
In a blender, blend the juice, milk, sugar, water, and vanilla at high for about a minute. Add ice cubes and blend until the drink thickens. Be careful not to over-blend or the ice will melt completely. Serve immediately.
We saved our favorite summertime concoction for last—simple, easy and scrumptious.
For each serving, spoon about a half cup of orange sherbet into a glass. Cover with orange juice. For the best flavor, “smoosh” the sherbet into the juice and spoon it into your mouth before it melts.
We speculate that you could get similar results running the juice and the sherbet through the blender but we’re so happy with the mixture in a glass we never tried it.
Kathie Sutin is an award-winning freelance journalist based in St. Louis, Missouri. She specializes in writing about medical issues, travel, parenting, education, business, food and people. She has three children.
© Lead photo by Rmarmion | Dreamstime.com • Orange “Potion” photo by Kathie Sutin