Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Having a bit of fun

To say that things are a bit stressful here would be an understatement.. granted, some of that stress is self inflicted so I am trying to find ways to diffuse it. I found a new toy to play with!

I have have been on a maintenance lowish carb diet for about 2 years now and sometimes find it hard to stick with it. Our last  2 1/2 week trip to Italy didn't help as I had a hard time resisting all that yummy pasta and good wine. Result is that I added 5 pounds... it all settles in my belly :-(.  With Ned's surgery and rehab I have not been as diligent as I should be and haven't had the energy to fight it. I have been craving snacks. I needed to find something that would allow me to snack in a healthy manner and not make me feel guilty. Enter the Zoku Ice Pop maker!!!
I eat lots of fruits and veggies in the summer so making ice pops in a matter of minutes is right up my alley. They are fresh, they have no artificial ingredients, and I can control the sugar/carbs. It is a win/win situation with almost instant gratification.

The unit is available in 1, 2 and 3 pop sizes. I was intending to get the 3 pop size but no one in my area had it and I didn't want to wait a week to have it shipped... talk about lack of patience! I bought the 2 pop mold which comes with 4 sticks/4 drip catchers and it really is all I need. I can buy more sticks if I really want to store the pops in the freezer. Once you initially freeze the unit for 24 hours you are good to go. All you need is a blender and some imagination and you can have a delicious treat in 7-8 minutes. REALLY! If you lack imagination the internet has zillions of recipes for you to try. Weird, but Zoku doesn't provide any with the machine. They do have quite a few on their website and blog but one would think they would at least provide you with a basic one.

One of my favorite apps is Evernote and its ancillary helper Web Clipper. When I find something on the internet I want to keep, I just highlight it and "CLIP" it. I now have a large collection of recipes to use with the Zoku if I do not want to try my own. The best is that is syncs automatically with all my devices so I can take my ipad with me into the kitchen and have a reference library at my fingertips.

The short instructions...make your pop filling and put it in something you can use to pour it with. Take the Zoku unit out of the freezer and insert the sticks. Pour your filling into the molds and wait 7/8 minutes. Screw on the removal tool and pull out your creations. You are good to go! You can make 6 pops before you have to refreeze the unit.

My first experiment on Monday night:
We had a ton of blueberries in the house ( I love blueberries) and some peaches. I picked some fresh mint to add to it and I added 1 tsp sugar because I wasn't sure how sweet it would be without. I made up 4 pops. Since I don't really count the carbs of my fruits, the sugar added 1 carb to each of the pops. I am not sure I needed the sugar and will try without. If I feel I need some I will use unrefined next time. I used 1 cup of blueberries, 1 medium peach with skin removed, a few sprigs of mint, and 1 tsp sugar. I tossed it all in the blender and liquified it. They were good! I can see they can also be addictive.

These pops are the perfect snack. They are also very refreshing in the heat here in Arizona.

To say I was hooked would be an accurate statement. You can make these pops with just about anything you can think of...there are even some for "adults" that contain alcohol. I have my eye on a mojito pop! You really have to read the instructions carefully if you are using liquor of any sort as it doesn't freeze well. If the pop is not rock hard you won't be able to get it out of the mold and you will have a mess on your hands... no, I haven't tried this yet but I have been doing my reading homework!

Many people use yogurt with added ingredients to make their ice pops and there are tons of recipes for these. Since I am lactose intolerant, killing off the live cultures is the kiss of death for me. I am probably going to use Almond and Coconut milk instead.

I needed a new pop for Tuesday night... yep, I ate three of the first batch between Monday night and Tuesday afternoon. I had a failed experiment sitting in my freezer that I was sure would be a perfect candidate for a do over. Some weeks back on Facebook I saw what looked like a lovely snack. Silly me, I didn't read it and didn't save it so I had to wing it. It was for frozen chocolate covered peanut butter filled banana sandwiches. Lets just say the execution left something to be desired and the visual result was less than expected. Since I never saw the directions I might have missed something! They tasted good though but only after the bananas partially thawed. I had a few but they just didn't float my boat. For fun, I cut a few thin slices of banana and added them to the sides of the mold. I defrosted the rejects, tossed them in the blender with a bit of Almond milk to get them to the proper consistency and poured them into my mold. I only had enough to make 2 pops. Oh my! These were good and far better than their first incarnation. Probably a good thing there were only 2 of them!
I started to eat it before I remembered to take a picture!
It doesn't look very pretty but it sure was yummy! The chocolate was still hard so it was in little pieces and the peanut butter was the chunky kind. I kind of liked the texture.

I saw a recipe for an avocado and lime pop... I happen to have an overripe avocado that I was going to make into guacamole but I may try this instead.

The options are endless and I don't feel guilty having healthy snacks.

If you get one of these gadgets, please share your recipes!

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