Cool Off With Cold Treats

Cold creations make kids of all ages smile during
a summer heat wave

By Zara Abbasi, Photography by Katie Childs

 
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I know, as a mom, I’m technically not supposed to like summer vacation because my kids will be home, wanting snack after snack, and because I’ll have to find things for them to do. But, I’ll be honest: I love the summertime. I love spending time with them because I was told forever ago that I would never be able to have children. That sounds like such a serious mention in such a lighthearted column, but behind every lighthearted story is something deeper. Mine just happens to be that I see my kids as a gift—as frustrating as they can be on certain days. Seeing them laughing and learning new things brings me so much joy. When they fight, I take a deep breath and remember that they’re learning each other and actual life lessons. Parenthood isn’t easy, but remembering those doctor’s words keep me balanced and grateful that I get to witness the good along with the frustrating. 

One way that we really get to enjoy our time together is by making lists of fun things to do. This keeps us focused and keeps frustrations at bay. Do you have a summer bucket list? We don’t have a stringent one that we are tied down to, but we do like to keep a running list of fun things to do during the kids’ summer break. We get only a handful of summers to make memories before they rush off to college and enter their careers. These sweet summers are a gift, and their childhood is quickly running out. 

We love traveling together, as many pool days as possible, s’mores, grilling out, lazy movie days, board games and cooking together. There are so many more on our list and things change from year to year based on their ages and interests, but there are a few things that stay on that list year to year. One of those things is making cold summer treats together. I love to see their faces when they make their own ice cream and get that first scoop out, or pull out that first popsicle of the summer and wonder if their flavor combination was a success. It may just be food but the memories we get to make together are worth all the weird flavors they come up with and the stickiness that follows.

Whenever we decide to make our cold treats, we make a list of fun flavor combinations, but I help guide them so we’re not wasting ingredients, which is one of my biggest pet peeves. We love using fresh or frozen fruits when possible, but we have used jams and jellies in a pinch. In addition to different flavors, we also like to think up a variety of recipes we can make. Popsicles and ice creams are staples, but we have also made a fun ice cream sandwich cake before with minimal effort and it was a hit. I hope this gets the wheels turning for your own summer creations!

Strawberry Popsicles

My favorite popsicle flavor of all time is strawberry dipped in a good quality chocolate! I eat two in a row sometimes and just skip dinner because I crave them that much. These are super simple and so delicious. You can skip the chocolate because it’s not even necessary with how fresh these taste.

4 cups fresh strawberries, cut up
½ cup sugar (less or more depending on how sweet or
        tart your berries are)
½ cup water
1 to 2 tablespoons lime juice

1. Mix the strawberry pieces and the sugar and let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes, until the berries release their juices. 

2. Add all the berries and their juice, along with the water, into a blender and blend until it’s pourable. Test for sugar at this level and add in more if necessary. Add in more water if the mixture is too thick.

3. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze at least 5 hours to overnight.

4. To unmold, run hot water on the bottoms and sides of the molds to release them. Refreeze if necessary.

5. Enjoy immediately or wrap individually and place in freezer for later.

 
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Pineapple Slushies

If you’ve ever been to Disney World, then you might be familiar with a certain pineapple frozen treat they’ve mastered. We go pretty regularly and if we go in the summer, I have to have one for the pure sense of nostalgia. In the other seasons, it’s hard to get your fix. This recipe is a variation of it and I’ll point out a few ways you can change it up. 

2½ cups frozen pineapple chunks
1 cup cold coconut water
Juice from ½ lime 
2 tablespoons sugar (can add less)

1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until mixed. Can add in more coconut water or pineapple juice to thin out, or add in more pineapple or ice to thicken.

2. Different options: Here are things you can change up to get a variation on this treat. Can use two cans of pineapple chunks instead of frozen, reduce liquid, and blend with a tub of cool whip or ice cream. Can thin out with pineapple juice to make it drinking consistency, or can refreeze for more solid consistency. For a more adult version, add your favorite rum to the drink.

3. Enjoy!


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Reese’s Peanut Butter Ice Cream ‘Cake’

This one is so easy that you might just feel a smidge guilty about serving it as something you “made.” But it’s summer and you have better things to do, like lay by the pool. Well, at least I do. But seriously, this is such an amazing treat because you can easily change up the flavors to your liking. This is one of our favorites.

9 ice cream sandwiches
2 pints vanilla ice cream, softened
2 cups crushed or chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups
½ cup Reese’s pieces
½ cup peanut butter, plus 1 tablespoon powdered sugar,
        melted, stirred and set aside
½ cup crushed Oreos, optional
½ cup chocolate shell 

1. In a glass or serving dish, lay out the ice cream sandwiches so the entire bottom of the dish is covered.

2. In a mixing bowl, add in ice cream, chopped candies and cookies and stir to mix. Layer half the mixture on top of the ice cream sandwiches. Drizzle top with melted peanut butter and chocolate shell. Let it harden for a minute or two and then repeat by adding another layer of the ice cream, melted peanut butter and chocolate shell.

3. Place in freezer until the ice cream solidifies again, at least an hour or two.

4. Serve with whipped cream and enjoy!