Category Archives: Kids

Popsicle Parade: Test Kitchen Tuesday

It is hot here in Colorado, a perfect week to try a few ice-cold recipes for Test Kitchen Tuesday.  When our kids were little, we went the easy route freezing fruit juice for simple frozen treats. These recipes definitely raise the bar and the enjoyment for the entire family, saving a few pennies along the way.  Whether you like creamy, icy, sweeter, or healthier, there is something for everyone here.  For even more creative ideas (with exact measurements) check out the Ice Pop recipe maker at Fine Cooking and let me know what you think of their recipe tool.

I hope you join me in this delicious adventure!

In the next week or so:

1.  Make the recipe(s) (posted below)
2.  Leave a comment describing your experience, opinion, adjustments, or suggestions.  ♥ If you do focus on altering it to economize, choose healthier ingredients or techniques, make it gluten-free/allergy sensitive, embellish for entertaining, or incorporate into batch/once-a-month cooking, please mention that too.
3.  Subscribe to comments so you can see what others have to say.
4.  If you are especially proud of your creation, snap a photo and send it to me at so it can be included in this post or include a link to your site with your comment.

Berry Yogurt Popsicles

Source: Simple Sugar & Gluten Free (SS&GF)
2 1/3 cups Greek yogurt, divided
1/2    cup organic sliced strawberries
1/2    cup organic blueberries
choice of sweetener to taste: stevia, agave, or thawed white grape juice concentrate

Puree 2/3 cups of the Greek yogurt and the strawberries in a mini-food processor with sliced strawberries. Sweeten to taste. Place the strawberry yogurt in a pastry bag or a large Zip-loc bag, cut off a tiny corner and squeeze into the bottom of 6 (4-ounce) popsicle molds, being careful not to get any on the sides of the molds. Freeze for 20 minutes.

Puree 1 cup of Greek yogurt then sweeten to taste. Place in a pastry bag or a large Zip-loc bag, cut off a tiny corner and squeeze on top of the strawberry layer, being careful not to get any on the sides of the molds. Freeze for 20 minutes.

Puree the remaining 2/3 cups of the Greek yogurt and the blueberries in a mini-food processor. Sweeten to taste. Insert 1 popsicle stick into the center of each popsicle. Place the blueberry yogurt in a pastry bag or a large Zip-loc bag, cut off a tiny corner and squeeze on top of the white layer being careful not to get any on the popsicle stick. Freeze for 4 hours or until solid.

Notes: If you don’t have popsicle molds, use paper cups or even ice cube trays.

Chocolate Almond Butter Popsicles

Source: Elana’s Pantry
2    large bananas
¼  cup creamy roasted almond butter¼  cup water
2    tablespoons cacao powder
1     tablespoon vanilla extract
¼  teaspoon NuNaturals Stevia
Mix all ingredients in a Vitamix.  Pour “popsicle juice” into molds, adding holders or wooden popsicle sticks and freeze overnight.

Mandarin Orange Ice Cream

Source: Amy Jeanroy @Foodista
3  cans mandarin orange segments, drained
1   juice from orange
1   cup sugar
1   cup heavy cream

Step 1: Puree mandarin oranges, strain juice
Step 2: Measure juice and add enough orange juice to make 2 cups total of liquid.
Step 3: Add sugar and stir to dissolve.
Step 4: Whisk 1 cup of cream until soft peaks form.
Step 5: Fold in orange juice.
Step 6: Pour mixture into plastic bowl.
Step 7: Cover and freeze for 2 hours or until soft but frozen.
Step 8: Whisk mixture until smooth.
Step 9: Return to freezer for 3 hours.

Strawberries & Cream Bars

Source: Like a Bubbling Brook
1       pound fresh ripe organic strawberries
1       cup plain organic whole milk yogurt
(coconut kefir makes a great dairy-free option)
2 ½  tbsp raw honey
1/8   tsp pure vanilla extract

Remove stems from strawberries. Finely dice four of the strawberries and set aside. Then, cut the remaining whole strawberries into halves and place in your blender or VitaMix. Add the remaining ingredients listed above, except for the four finely diced strawberries. Blend until thoroughly combined. Then add the diced strawberries and blend on low just a couple of seconds to mix together. Pour mixture into pop molds and freeze for at least 6-8 hours. When ready to serve, run the pop mold under warm water for a few seconds to loosen before removing the mold.


Friday Cookies: Snickerdoodle

Today’s Friday cookies are Snickerdoodles.  Making cookies or any baked items in Colorado can be a little tricky. Our alpine desert can leave cookies crumbly or flat as a crepe if the flour isn’t just right. Not only do these cookies stay soft and moist, they are also made with whole wheat flour. I have only used King Arthur White Whole Wheat, which has shown superior results.

Snickerdoodles are the ones that call to me like no other—I can hear them from all the way downstairs. They freeze well (though rarely do they last that long), make great after school snacks, and wonderful holiday gifts.

Snickerdoodle Cookies

1          cup  butter
1 1/2   cups  sugar
2          large  eggs
2 3/4   cups  King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
2          teaspoons  cream of tartar
1          teaspoon  baking soda
1/4      teaspoon  salt

3        tablespoons  sugar
2        teaspoons  cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°.  Mix butter, sugar, and eggs thoroughly in a large bowl.

Combine flour, cream of tartar, backing soda and salt in a separate bowl.  Blend dry ingredients into butter mixture.

Mix sugar and cinnamon for topping in a small bowl.

Form 1 inch balls of dough and roll in topping mixture to coat each one.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and slightly press down.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Remove from pan and cool on wire racks.

NOTES : If cookies spread too much when baking, chill dough for an hour before baking. For High Altitude, add 1/4 cup more flour.

Friday Cookies

Ghirardelli Brownie Cookies

Ghirardelli Brownie Cookies

When our youngest started attending high school, I decided to bake cookies on Fridays for her to have when she got home from school. It is our special time together to linger over a cup of milk and warm cookies as we talk.

Sometimes “life” happens, days get busy, or I’m simply tired…but the cookies are baked and the connection takes place. It is a standing weekly date that is rarely missed and the time we share makes the cookies that much sweeter.

I often make the standard chocolate chip (her favorite), snickerdoodles (my favorite), oatmeal, chocolate cookies with mint-chocolate chips, or the occasional peanut butter just to keep things interesting. One Friday, the day was getting late when I noticed there was not enough flour in the house for even half a batch. Out of time to get to the store, I remembered my friend Donna’s cookie recipe that she makes from a cake mix. I had Ghirardelli Brownie Mix in the cupboard, so I decided to give Donna’s recipe a whirl. It worked like a charm and Ghirardelli Brownie Cookies were ready, right on schedule!

Ghirardelli Brownie Cookies

1 Ghirardelli brownie mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
3 tablespoons flour (1/3 cup for high altitude)
1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, or nuts can be mixed-in (optional)

Mix flour into brownie mix. Slightly beat eggs with oil and mix in. The dough should be stiff like cookie dough. One recipe will make 24-30 cookies, depending on the size.

Bake at 350° for 10-11 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies, less if the cookies are 2″ or smaller. Let cookies rest on pan for 2 minutes, then cool on baking racks.

Shared with someone, they taste even better!

Fallow No More: Rekindled Lessons of Gardening

After lying fallow for six years, my garden is part of life again. The feel of the soil is soft under my bare feet, warm from the sun. It was soothing to level the surface, plan the layout, and envision the harvest in later months. Beans, peas, herbs, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, squash—all familiar favorites.

Growing up with a garden spread across acres, my 9×12 plot is just enough to reminisce without the commitment of canning jars. To this day, I can remember peeling the tomatoes for what seemed like days to a child, but was probably only a handful of hours. Raising crops was not a favorite pastime for a nine-year-old, though now, many moons later, I am grateful for the lessons learned from the rhythm of raising our own food.

As I have watched punishing winds take a toll on tender new plantings and whisk away freshly tilled soil, an analogy about parenting began to form:

Planting the seeds is the news that you are pregnant—the anticipation begins.

Tender shoots appear with the excitement of the first ultrasound.

Recognizable leaves sprout; the baby is born.

Roots develop a firm foundation—your toddler becomes more stable and self-sufficient.

The growth cycle indicates the need for fertilizer and the tending necessary to prepare little ones for more independence from age four to six.

By now, the weeds are more noticeable, starting to crowd the young plants, so your diligence is crucial in giving room for good character from six to twelve.

Pests discover the sweet blossoms that are the promise in the life of a twelve to fifteen year old—have no mercy on those that seek to spoil budding potential.

Wind and hail come most unexpectedly, tearing fragile leaves, bruising fruit still on the vine of those fifteen to eighteen—shield them when possible, give extra care as needed.

The mature plant is now ready to produce abundant fruit in the life prepared to yield in season.

Planting, tending, protecting a garden, as well as teaching, nurturing, launching our children, all takes time, knowledge, prayer, wisdom, and work. Ah, but the anticipated harvest! Each will generate a different yield, various kinds of fruit, yet all is received as blessings, giving thanks to God for his faithfulness as the Master Gardener.

Baby Shower

This last week I attended a baby shower for a gal in our bible study group.  Colorado Springs was only a short stint for her and her husband while he was in school and she prepared to give birth to their second child.  Considering her time here would be brief, she was certain the year would be a write-off with respect to having girlfriends, though a bible study seemed like a good way to pass the time. Not only did friendship develop during the course of the study, but she also found godly women full of grace and wisdom.  Along the way, she too was a woman of grace and wisdom for others.  That is the beauty of authentic community.

We prayed over her, shared this delicious cake made by Care Young, and as she unwrapped gifts each of us offered words of encouragement and insight about mothering more than one.  Much of the advice of the evening revolved around the importance of enjoying this season that passes all too quickly.  A couple of the women did not have children, so they reminisced about their own childhood and their moms.  The collective wisdom in the room was palpable and the consensus: don’t hurry, enjoy it.  Household duties, working, projects, ministry positions can wait—babies aren’t babies very long.

What is it about the season of life when babies are being born and a woman decides to “stay home,” that we wonder if we’re missing out?  In my own experience, contentment during this stage in life is greatly impacted by those we spend time with and unity with our husband.  Our desire to fast-forward is at least two-fold; we want to see the result of our sacrifice now, as well as the desire to get back to the goals, dreams, endeavors we may have put on-hold to be mothers.  We want to feel significant beyond the loads of laundry, trails of toys, and moldy sippy-cups (you know, the ones you find later, sure it will cost you Mother of the Year because you didn’t find it before they tried drinking it!).

Modern women have a difficulty with the notion that once they choose to become mothers, motherhood is their ministry and lifework—anything else is a bonus.  I am not suggesting that motherhood is all we can do; just that it takes all that we have to do it, and then some.  Not a single weighty accomplishment on the planet even comes close to the nurturing, training, and launching of another human being.  In fact, it is our greatest privilege.

God fashioned woman, uniquely equipped to give life.  Beyond the ability to produce life from the womb, is the capacity to impart life through our words, our touch, and our reach into the community around us.  We must not succumb to the beguiled thinking that daycare centers, youth pastors, school yards, coaches, or Sunday school teachers are an adequate substitute (though great resources).  There is desperate need today for young mothers to have seasoned women and like-minded girlfriends to link arms with when the days are long and purpose seems elusive.

Parenting in the midst of this you-can-have-it-all culture requires a community rich in valuing the appropriate things.  Each of us need to be reminded what a precious gift we hold in our hands, especially when they are sticky with jelly or strained carrots.  I am forever grateful for the godly women in my own life who know how important it is to celebrate new life and encourage each other to embrace and value motherhood at every opportunity.