Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ten Combinations for Frozen Fruit Popsicles

by Lois Breneman - Heart to Heart -  Copyright July, 2012

Tupperware popsicle molds

A specialty popsicle mold, but almost any kind will do!

How would you like ten combinations for nutritious and delicious fruity frozen treats (with no sugar) in the form of popsicles to make with your family for a hot summer day?

Of course, you can make these the quickest way by completely blending the fruit in a blender with juice, water, or milk, and simply pour into popsicle molds.
But instead of the above method that I've always used before, I wanted to make a summer treat that would show off the beautiful colors, shapes and designs in a fruit combination.  First I gathered together a variety of fruit, such as kiwi, oranges, cherries, grapes, strawberries, bananas, peaches, mango, blueberries, crushed or pineapple tidbits as well as apricots.  The pineapples and apricots could be fresh or canned in their own juice.

For spectacular texture, color and design, you can use a kiwi slice, a wedge of an orange slice, a jeweled strawberry slice, pineapple tidbits, halves of cherries or grapes, or small chunks of banana.  The secret is to place the fruit along the sides of a popsicle mold, so it will be visible when removed from the mold.  Kiwi and strawberry slices especially add a great look.
Why not have the children (of all ages - teens included) help assemble these individualized popsicles! You only need about two or three different fruits per popsicle, and they can all be a little different. That's the beauty of it.  Another option would be to make a different version each week.  The most difficult part of this activity will be waiting for them to freeze!

Strawberry Kiwi Pops
Put strawberries and milk (or coconut milk or yogurt) in the blender and add a little stevia for sweetener.  Place one or two kiwi slices along the edge of a popsicle mold.  Place halves of seeded cherries along the edge, and stick in a few pieces of a peach or pineapple if there is enough room.  Slowly spoon the strawberry mixture into the mold, making sure the fruit is clinging to the sides.  Slip a knife down into the mold to remove any air bubbles.

Strawberry Blueberry Pops
Place strawberry slices along the sides of a popsicle mold.  Puree blueberries with milk, coconut milk, or vanilla yogurt, and a little stevia.  Spoon the blueberry mixture into the popsicle mold, making sure the strawberry slices are clinging to the sides.  Slip a knife down into the mold to remove any air bubbles.

Cherry Yogurt Pops
Pit and halve several bing cherries and place them along the sides of a popsicle mold.  Spoon in vanilla or cherry yogurt.

Orange Pineapple Kiwi Pops
Place peeled orange slice wedges or chunks along the sides of a popsicle mold.  Slip in a kiwi slice or two for extra color and design.  Spoon in canned crushed pineapple in its own juice until the mold is filled.  Another option would be to make a puree of pineapple in its own juice to spoon into the mold.

Peachy Pineapple Pops
Place chunks of peach along the sides of a popsicle mold.  Fill up the mold with canned crushed pineapple in its own juice.  Another option would be to make a puree of pineapple in its own juice to spoon into the mold.

Kiwi Banana Apricot Pops
Place slices of kiwi and banana along the sides of a popsicle mold.  Spoon in chopped canned apricot in its own juice until filled.  Another option would be to make a puree of apricot in its own juice to spoon into the mold.

Strawberry Vanilla Pops
Place several slices of red ripe strawberries along the sides of a popsicle mold.  Spoon in vanilla yogurt around the strawberries.

Creamy Grape Pops
Cut grapes in half and place along the side of the popsicle mold.  Blend vanilla yogurt with a little grape juice, and slowly pour into the popsicle mold.

Kiwi Mango Pineapple Pops
Place several slices of kiwi along the sides of the popsicle mold.  Place chopped mango along the sides as well.  Spoon in crushed pineapples with pineapple juice.

Patriotic Pops
Place strawberry slices along the sides of the mold.  Puree blueberries with vanilla yogurt.  Spoon a little blueberry mixture into the popsicle mold.  Then spoon in some vanilla yogurt, making sure the strawberry slices are clinging to the sides.

As you can see, this is a very versatile way to make healthy and beautiful popsicles.  The possibilities are unlimited!  I'm sure your family will come up with even more winning combinations. 

Popsicle Tips:
To release the frozen goodness inside the mold, run warm water over the bottom and sides.

A coffee filter or baking liner is perfect for slipping the popsicle stick through to prevent tasty drips from settling on clothing being worn by the "licker." 

How to Remove Berry Stains:
If you do find berry stains on clothing, boil some water in your tea kettle.  Lay out the stained clothing flat in the sink.  Then holding the tea kettle about two feet above the stain, slowly pour a steam of boiling water on the stain, and watch the berry stain disappear like magic!

Carrot, Fingerling Potato and Pea Ragout

Thanks to Carol Miller in Pennsylvania for this great recipe!
Hearty caramelized carrots and potatoes are the base for this side dish (or main dish).  Peas, baby spinach, lemon and tarragon add a bright fresh twist.  Serve with roast chicken or seared fish.  Serves 4 to 6 - Fingerling potatoes are elongated in shape, resemble a finger, and they are almost a sweet creamy flavor.  They look nice on a platter, but other potatoes would be fine for this recipe.

1 medium lemon
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. maple syrup or a little stevia
1 Tbsp. water
3 1/2 Tbsp. butter chilled
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or more if needed
1 1/2 lb. large carrots cut into 2" long 1/2"thick sticks ( I love carrots and used extra)
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
12 oz. fingerling potatoes cut in half lengthwise, if longer than 2" cut in half crosswise (used extra)
1 cup low-salt chicken broth or water
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
3/4 cup fresh blanched peas (or frozen, thawed)
2 oz. stemmed baby spinach leaves
2 tsp.chopped fresh tarragon (used dried parsley)
Finely grate lemon to yield 1 tsp. zest and juice it to yield 1 1/2 tsp. juice. In small bowl combine zest, juice, vinegar, maple syrup, and 1 Tbsp. water.
In a deep wide pan heat 1 Tbsp. butter and 2 Tbsp. olive oil over low heat or little higher.  Add carrots and 3/4 tsp. salt. Cover and cook, stirring once in a while gently until nicely browned and just tender (25 min. more or less).  With slotted spoon transfer to a large plate.
Add 1 Tbsp. butter to remaining fat in pan.  If no fat in pan, add olive oil.  When butter melts arrange potatoes cut side down in a single layer in pan. Add a little salt if needed. Cover pan partially and cook undisturbed until potatoes are deep golden brown on bottom (10 or 15 min.).  Add chicken broth or water and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cover partially.  Cook until potatoes are tender and liquid has reduced to few Tbsp. (15 min or so).  Add garlic to potatoes and cook, stirring gently until fragrant (about 30 seconds).  Add reserved carrots, peas and lemon juice mixture.  Stir and cook a few minutes.  Add spinach, stirring gently until spinach is wilted.  Remove pan from heat and add remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp. butter; stir until just melted.  Stir in tarragon or parsley.  Transfer to platter and serve.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Safe and Natural Produce Wash

by Lois Breneman - Heart to Heart
Copyright June, 2012

My nutritionist, Stephanie Hein, gave me this recipe for safely washing produce when I asked for a better alternative.  It's very inexpensive as well, compared to the ones available in stores.  When you mix this up, be sure to use a "large" bowl, because otherwise it will fizz up and overflow.  Children would love helping you make this easy recipe, because it would be a great science experiment for them as well!

1 cup water

1 cup vinegar (I used white distilled.  By the way, there is no vinegar smell because of the baking soda.)
2 Tbsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. lemon juice  (To save time, I added 2 extra tablespoons of vinegar rather than squeezing a lemon)

Pour into a spray bottle.  Spray produce liberally and allow to set for 5 minutes, then rinse well.  If you have a hand sprayer for rinsing, even the friction of the water helps to remove pesticides.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Gluten Free Flour to Make Waffles, Pancakes, etc.

Gluten Free Flour
Thanks to my daughter-in-law, Rachael Breneman, for this recipe!  I've learned so much from her!
I ordered most of my flours from  If you've never ordered from them, you may use my e-mail address to get a discount on your first order.)  Although I don't benefit, you will save $5.

1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup fava, garbanzo, or white bean flour
1 cup millet flour
1 1/2 cups potato starch
1 1/2 cups tapioca starch
2 cups sorghum flour
1 cup almond flour
(Store flour in refrigerator or freezer).

Gluten Free Waffles or Pancakes
1 cup gluten free flour (above)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup liquid (I usually use less and usually use carrot juice)
*1 large egg (See egg replacement instructions below)
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 Tbsp. oil (I usually use more for extra calories and nutrition as well as to keep from sticking.) 

*You can replace 1 whole egg with 1 Tbsp. milled flax seed and 3 Tbsp. hot water.  Allow to set for 2-10 minutes before adding to a recipe.

Spelt Tortilla Crisps

Thanks to Lorna Grooten in Virginia for sharing this recipe!
2 cups light spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup light olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup warm water
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add the oil and mix until blended.
Work water into the dough until a sticky ball forms.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 6 to 8 balls. Cover them again with plastic wrap.
Roll the balls out on lightly floured surface into tortillas measuring 6 or 7" and 1/8" thick.
Cook tortillas in a heavy cast iron skillet for 30 seconds on each side.
Cut them into wedges and bake them at 350 for 8-10 minutes.
Serve with your choice of dip.

Tasty Tidbits

Beautiful and Tasty Appetizer or Snack ~ Place three chunks (1 each of pineapple, banana and strawberry) on a toothpick. Dip one side into dark or white chocolate.  Place on wax paper and allow chocolate to harden.

Dip Strawberries in Yogurt and Freeze on wax paper.  You will get an amazing appetizer or snack!  Cut them in half while frozen for an even more beautiful presentation!

Veggie and Dip Cups ~ Using clear plastic bathroom cups or clear juice glasses, pour a few tablespoons of veggie dip into the bottom of each cup.  Add sticks of celery, carrots along with strips of red, yellow and green peppers for a colorful appetizer, salad, or snack.

Roast Green Beans with olive oil and fresh Parmesan.  Sprinkle with seasoned salt.

Roast Asparagus with grated lemon zest.  Sprinkle with seasoned salt.

Healthy Breakfast Smoothie ~ In a blender, process 2 ripe bananas, 2 cups ice, 1/3 cup yogurt, 1/2 cooked oatmeal, 1/3 cup almonds, and a little honey.

Fruit and Veggie Smoothie ~ In a blender or Vitamix, add: 2 cups filtered water, 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, 1 Tbsp. honey, 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 1 cup kale, 1 box strawberries.  Add a few blueberries to get rid of the green color, which may turn off most kids.