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Divas on a Dime: How to beat the heat with ice pop treats

There are few things more refreshing on a hot summer’s day than cooling down with a flavorful ice pop. But before you dash to the grocery store, consider making ice pops at home. Store bought pops are often chockablock full of sugar, artificial flavoring and dyes. How else can you get those neon colors not found in nature? While it’s fun for the kiddies to stick out their electric blue tongues, we can make better-for-you pops they will love.

Do-it-yourself pops are so easy, you can literally put any flavors you wish in an ice pop mold, freeze them and make people happy. The molds can be found online, any grocery store, even at the dollar store. Or you can go old school and use craft sticks in muffin tins or a paper cup like back in the day when we were kids.

Making ice pops at home can be as healthy and virtuous or as indulgent and decadent as you wish. They don’t have to be complicated; you can simply freeze fruit juice, soda or pudding and everyone will love them. Made with yogurt, fresh fruit, and rolled in granola they’re a breakfast treat. Made with coffee or your favorite cocktail ingredients and they’re an adult treat. And the best part? You can have an infinity of flavors and they’re still totally cheap!

Making ice pops is a great activity to do with the kiddies. This is a wonderful opportunity to experiment in the kitchen learning about nutrition with fruits, veggies and high-quality dairy.

The recipe I’m sharing today will truly help you beat the summer’s heat. We’re making a very healthy, light, refreshing pop filled with electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals (which include calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium) your body needs. Electrolytes regulate hydration, muscle and nerve function, blood pressure and your body’s pH levels. Imbalances or deficiencies in electrolytes can cause everything from muscle cramps and fatigue to irregular heartbeat and seizures. When we perspire, we lose electrolytes. How fun to make an ice pop that helps to replace them!

We start with a coconut water base and add a simple syrup made with ginger. Coconut water rehydrates and replenishes electrolytes, especially potassium. When choosing coconut water, look for one that’s 100% juice with minimal ingredients, namely “coconut water.” Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory with antioxidant properties. Next, we add watermelon and blueberries, both packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

COCONUT FRUIT POPS

This recipe yields approximately 3 ¾ cups, which makes 10 (3 oz.) popsicles

What You’ll Need:

2 tablespoons candied ginger – minced

¼ cup sugar

Pinch sea salt

2 cups coconut water

1 ½ cups watermelon

½ cups blueberries or blackberries

Here’s How:

In a small saucepan, bring ginger, sugar, salt and ¼ cup water to a boil. Let this reduce for about 5 minutes or until approximately 1/3 cup. Set aside to cool. (I put mine in the freezer to expedite getting my pop on) When cooled, add the coconut water and combine.

Use either a melon baller or knife to make bite-sized pieces of watermelon that will fit into your popsicle molds. Divide the watermelon pieces and blueberries among the popsicle molds. Fill with the coconut ginger mixture, add your craft sticks and freeze at least 4 hours. Overnight is even better.

These treats are perfect when the heat has got you beat. The health benefits are especially important for children and the elderly.

I like to serve these as a nostalgic surprise ending to a dinner party. A perfect way to end the evening on the patio, feeling like a kid again. See you next week!

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the recipe developer and food writer of the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com

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