Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mango Blueberry ice pops

I am really sorry I didn't get the bigger unit. These pops are addictive.... and they are healthy!

Today's concoction is Mango, blueberry, lime pops. I blended fresh mango, blueberries, some lime juice, and a bit of almond milk to make up 8 oz of liquid.
This made up 4 pops with a bit of liquid left over.... so I drank it! I haven't tasted the pops but the liquid sure was good :-). I am sure all of these recipes could be used in a mold maker rather than the Zoku. I don't measure much.. just eyeball stuff and taste as I go along. These pops are not particularly sweet as I am trying not to add sugar. I would imagine yogurt would add to the creaminess but I cannot eat frozen yogurt. These really take no time at all to make But they did need 8 minutes for the first batch and 9 for the second to freeze up. Still a pretty short time.

I am planning on picking up the set of extra sticks when we go out this afternoon.... if we get out. At the moment we are having a wild monsoon storm. The rain is coming down in sheets and I would imagine that it would sting the skin if we were out in it.  The temperature has dropped but it feels like Florida.... muggy as all get out.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Cherry Ice Pops....

This one is an unqualified success. I may have to go buy some more sticks so I can keep a few of these in the freezer.
I pitted about a cup of fresh cherries which just happened to be on sale at the grocery store. I tossed in a handful of semi sweet chocolate morsels, and some lime juice.... blended it all together and poured it into the Zoku mold... the chocolate is still a bit chunky. Oh my! These are not going to last long.

These pops have been perfect for the hot weather we have been having. I also get to eat these all by myself. Ned doesn't seem to want any.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Well tonight's experiment didn't do to well. I tried to make an avocado and lime ice pop... I really should have known better. As I was whipping it all up, I had a feeling this was not going to fly. Recipe.... sort of since I didn't measure anything: 1 overripe avocado, lime juice, pinch of cayenne pepper, pinch of salt, and some Stevia dissolved in hot water. Into the blender it all went. It all came out quite smooth but I was leery so I only filled one slot in the Zoku. I used the rest as a dressing for my tomatoes. It was quite good as a dressing.  It failed as an ice pop. I think I will go back to fruit.

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!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A bit of excitement

On July 2, my hubby had a double knee replacement. Needless to say I was very concerned about his rehab. I fully expected him to have to go to a rehab facility from the hospital and had these visions of god knows what in my head. All I can say is that Ned should be the poster child for his surgeon!

I spent the first night with him in the hospital... he was losing a lot of blood and it scared the crap out of me. They usually have patients up and walking the first afternoon. Because of his blood loss and low blood pressure that didn't happen. I am amazed at the advances in medical science. They now capture your own blood and can transfuse it back to you within a certain period of time. Ned got 2 + liters of his own blood back. He lost a lot more but time ran out so they had to boost him back. Next day they had him up and walking. He did rather well and seemed to have made up for lost time! Day 2 was even better. No rehab facility needed for him. He had the surgery on Tuesday morning and was discharged Friday afternoon!

Physical Therapy was arranged for home as was a passive motion machine that bends the knees, walker, compression hose, elevated toilet seat, shower chair, and 2 ice machines. He went home with meds for everything... normal pain, nerve pain, blood thinners, anti inflammatories. It seemed like a walking pharmacy! PT guy came on Saturday to do an eval..... Ned was at least 3 weeks ahead of most single knee replacement patients. He was doing all the exercises he was assigned and staying on top of his pain. He could bend his knees further than the passive machine did so he ditched that early. He was really working hard. It was impossible to keep him home! We have been to the bridge club almost every day! By midweek he ditched the walker and was using a cane. He really doesn't even need it but uses it to humor me! After the 4th visit the PT told him he was doing too well for home visits. He needed to move up to outpatient. Surgeon sees him on Thursday to remove staples and to decide what he does to continue his rehab.

He has already started to wean off the pain meds. I am truly impressed with him.

I am exhausted! I think the hardest is getting his stockings on every day. Showers are fun too as his legs need to be waterproofed. However, he is is standing and not sitting. I got a no skid mat for the shower floor.  We have this down to a real science by now! He won't be able to drive for about 2 months so my major job these days is chauffeur.

His youngest son is coming for a visit next week and will spell me for a bit while I go have some fun playing with dollies. When I get back I will also get back to the quilt I am making for my grandson.

Having gone through this with him, I would definitely recommend having 2 done at once rather than one and one. You get it all over with sooner! It is a lot of extra work for the caregiver but worth it. Well, Ned is worth it. Love you hon.

I am looking forward to his being able to walk again. It has really put a huge damper on what we were able to do together. We actually went to the mall for a bit yesterday... they had motorized carts available for free so he didn't have to walk too far. The grocery store is on tap for later. You can't keep a good man down!