Category Archives: Food

Pineapple Pomegranate Popsicles

Yesterday the pavement on our driveway was oozing and bubbling. Today the weather was slightly cooler – just enough to solidify the lava flow – but it was still blazing. My feet burned stepping out on the wooden planks of the porch and the metal clip of Owen’s leash was hot to the touch.

We’re Mainers. We’re supposed to be prepared for any weather, so we did what we do best: we coped. (Actually, Owen is reportedly from Arkansas and I was born in Massachusetts, but we’ve got squatters rights.)

Owen sat by the pool to beat the heat.

Owen by the pool

I sat next to him, dunked my feet and ate a wonderfully refreshing Pineapple Pomegranate Popsicle. And played Angry Birds.

What?

Now, you know you want to be as cool we are (or at least as Owen is), so you need the popsicle recipe.

First, you need these:

ice pop molds

Because store-bought popsicles are full of sugar, high fructose nastiness or other bad-for-your-body sweeteners. Not that I’m judging. Except that I am.

Pineapple Pomegranate Popsicles

Ingredients

  • 2 c. cubed fresh pineapple (canned won’t yield the right amount of sweetness)
  • 1 – 1-1/2 c. Pom juice
  • 1/2 c. ginger beer (I use Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew, which is sweetened only with pineapple juice and honey)
  • 2 Tbs. lime juice

Directions

1. Place pineapple chunks in a blender. Pour in Pom juice until just covered. Add ginger beer and lime juice. Blend until smooth.

2. Pour into ice pop molds. Leave a little room at the top for expansion as the pops freeze. (Also, the ginger beer makes it frothy. You may need to scoop out some of the foam and pour in more of the mixture.)

full ice pop molds

3. Freeze for four to six hours.

4. Enjoy! You may need to run the molds under cool water to get the popsicle out.

popsicle under faucet

But it is so worth it!

Popsicle!

Sorry. This picture is actually of a watermelon-mango popsicle I made a few weeks ago (it sounds better than it was). I didn’t take any pictures of the Pineapple Pomegranate ones because I was too busy eating them, but they are a deep red with swirls of pink froth running throughout.

Beautiful on the inside and the out!

Like this guy:

Owen by the pool

Stay cool!

Pineapple Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Creeeaaaak! Poof!

That was the sound of me opening my WordPress account for the first time in almost two weeks and blowing the dust off of my dashboard.

I don’t really have an explanation or any excuses, so let’s get down to business.

This morning I was chopping fresh pineapple and thinking about all the cool treats I could make to counter the temperatures that were bursting through the 100 degree mark like an angry bird on a mission. (The previous sentence contains a hint as to where I’ve been for two weeks.)

100 degree temps

My house, today.

Many people don’t feel like eating in the heat. I look at extreme heat as an opportunity. A delicious,  refreshing excuse to eat homemade popsicles, smoothies and ice cream.

My pineapple idea hit me harder than a Mack truck hits a moose. Not that I’m a moose. Although if I keep eating ice cream, it will become a distinct possibility. But who cares? How good does Pineapple Coconut Milk Ice Cream sound? Pretty moose-worthy, right?

So here’s what I did:

First, I ran to Facebook and posted this:

FB Ice Cream Idea

Then, oh, about nine hours later, I concocted this:

pineapple coconut milk ice cream

Let me assure you that the consumption was as spiritual as the conception. So, if you’re looking for a little religion in your life, try this:

Pineapple Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 c. cubed fresh pineapple
  • 1/3 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (gluten-free, of course!)
  • 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum (optional, but it adds thickness)
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped pineapple (optional, but highly recommended)

Directions

1. Combine first five ingredients (coconut milk through xanthan gum) in a blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for about an hour for best results. (But you can proceed to Step 2 if you’re desperate.)

2. Pour mixture in ice cream maker and use as directed. I have a Cuisinart and it’s awesome. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you could probably use these instructions, developed by the fabulous Chocolate-Covered Katie:

Mix the ingredients together in 1 or 2 shallow plastic containers. Freeze. (You could also use an ice cube tray.) Once frozen, pop the blocks out of the container (I thaw for 30 seconds in the microwave first) and blend in your Vita-Mix. (If you don’t have a vita-mix, you’ll probably have to thaw longer, but you can still get a yummy ice milk.)

3. While the ice cream maker is doing its thing, spread the finely chopped pineapple on a dish in a single layer and pop it in the freezer. Add it to the churning ice cream five minutes before it’s done. (If you are using the Vita-Mix method, omit.)

4. Enjoy! I sprinkled mine with some additional shredded coconut because I’m fancy that way.

Oh, and if you’re feeling guilty, don’t worry. T and I did a three-mile walk with nearly-full pack this evening, so I’m sure I sweated out some of those moose-inducing calories.

Probably.

By the way, I also made Pineapple Pomegranate Popsicles today (say that three times fast). It was probably the best popsicle I’ve eaten and that includes lime Freeze Pops. Any takers for that recipe?

How about you? What do you do to beat the heat?

The Planting

Back before my dad spent two weeks in-and-out of the hospital, having an ultrasound, an MRI and four endoscopic procedures, I wrote about how I built a raised bed garden frame all by my very lonesome. Well, Owen offered moral support, but mostly it was all by my very lonesome.

Now comes the part about how I made the frame into an actual garden.

First, I went to Lowe’s and used our military discount to buy starter plants. Since I went in early June, the pickin’s were kinda slim, so I mostly ended up with peppers. Red, yellow, orange and hot banana peppers, to be exact. For variety I added two zucchini plants, even though I have heard stories about how they consume everything in their path. I suspect they’ll make short work of my tiny 4×4 plot, but nothing ventured, nothing gained!

I also had several container tomato plants and some herbs.

the plants

Ready to Rock

Owen helped me pick out the location by scouting the sunniest spot in the yard.

raised bed

After I moved Owen, I placed the frame where I wanted it, marked it off, moved it back out of the way, and started digging. I wanted to be sure the soil beneath was loosened up so the roots could grow down as well as out.

The ground was hard-packed, full of rocks and tree roots, and it was slow work. After about twenty minutes of jumping up and down on the shovel and shaking out grass clumps, all I had was this:

breaking the sod

Never terribly patient, I decided to enlist the help of a professional digger.

Owen digs

Not even kidding. I called the dog over, pointed him in the right direction and instructed, “Dig, Owie!” He tentatively scooped with one paw and looked up at me questioningly. When I said, “Yes! Good boy!” he went into high-speed Rototiller mode. Dirt flying, Paws of Lightning dug down about eight inches right quick.

I stopped him only to move him to the next corner.

Paws of Lightning

Look at that dirt fly!

Go Paws of Lightning, go!

I freaking love that dog.

Once we were dug down eight inches all around the square (can you be “around” in a square?), I filled it back in with loose soil. I used a completely random mixture of “native soil”, bagged garden soil from Lowe’s and composted manure that my neighbors had delivered by the truckful and were kind enough to share with me. I think my ratio was, ten shovelfuls of native soil-to-a dumped-in amount of garden soil-to-a few shovelfuls of manure.

I mixed it up as well as I could with my cool little rake from Lowes and brought it up to ground level.

soil mixture

Time to place the frame on! I discovered at this point that I needed to widen the square just a smidge on one side so that the frame would sit evenly. Then, because I am incredibly anal retentive, I made sure the frame was level on all four sides and packed it in securely from the outside.

almost perfectly level

Perfect!

Well, close enough for jazz.

I used the same(ish) soil ratio to fill the frame until it was about an inch from the top.

soil ratio

Next, I placed my plants approximately where I wanted them, ignoring the instructions to “place 18″ apart”. If I “placed 18″ apart” I would have had about four plants in my 4×4 garden. Instead I spaced about 10″ apart.

plant plan

Gardening is hard work. Snack break!

snack break

Sorry about the oogy bite marks but I was too hungry to wait to take the picture.

There’s not much left to tell. I peeled the bottom of my peat pots and sunk the plants according to instruction.

planted plants

Cute wheelbarrow, eh? I love my little barrow.

I planted the tomato plants in the container (and one in the left corner of the bed), put some some cat grass seed in the colored pots and watered everything.

Planted garden!

Our garden: June 5th

The cool part is that the garden is already feeding our family. Owen likes to eat the composted manure chunks out of it. Which is pretty gross but, to his credit, he hasn’t once tried to dig in the garden since he helped create it.

Gratuitous artsy-looking plant photo:

pepper plants

Oh yeah, and I can’t forget the herbs! I planted those in a window planter right outside our door. Easy access when cooking!

herb planter

Parsley, basil, dill, thyme and rosemary. Plus sage, chives and oregano that I didn’t have room for and stuffed down along the sides of the raised bed garden. Along with the marjoram I got from my farm share.

So it’s a little crowded in there. But, it’s been a month and everything seems to be doing well so far.

updated garden

Our garden: July 1st

Especially the zucchini.