Sometimes it’s the small things that shine the brightest light in the darkness.
We live in such strange times, friends… shootings in Orlando, bombs in Istanbul, and the surefire knowledge that it’s simply going to happen again.
Just this week, I left the house to work offsite for the first time in months, and I was greeted with an active shooter in downtown Denver just a half a block away from where I was working. Add to this a massive hailstorm that demolished our garden and flooded our basement — destroying many of my childhood keepsakes — and this week can simply stop it with the awfulness.
But this blog isn’t about “moping with the Frels”. There’s a reason why “fun” is infused into our identifier, and it’s not because we choose the frivolous over the pragmatic. It’s because we made a vow to lift one another out of fear and disappointment, to combat the saddest of circumstances with the tiniest slivers of hope.
We choose joy. Because if we don’t, evil wins.
Sometimes it comes in the form of a simple a hug, letting the other one cry without allowing them to fall apart. Sometimes it’s a well-timed inside joke that convinces a smile to break through the all-consuming sadness. Sometimes it’s an invitation to go on a bike ride or a walk around the block to help clear out the cobwebs of stagnation. Sometimes it’s a song from the Hamilton soundtrack [in my opinion, the purest remedy for all ailments]. And sometimes it’s something as simple as an invitation to harken back to childhood.
Such is the case with this week’s recipes. Anyone who follows our Instagram knows that we’ve been especially obsessed with popsicles since summer finally kicked into full gear. There’s nothing new about these sweet treats, but there is something innately nostalgic and incredibly innocent about their consumption… I don’t know about you, but eating a popsicle as an adult transports me to the swimming pool parties, sprinkler system slip-and-slides, flag football games, and Fourth of July barbecues of my youth. They take me back to simpler days, when shootings and bombings and hailstorms didn’t threaten my everyday ethos.
So whether you’re looking for that little bolt of joy in whatever form you can get it or a perfect complement to that idyllic Fourth of July celebration, look no further. These two recipes have served us well. The fact that they are pseudo-healthy, gluten-free, and made from local produce [some of which we found in our own backyard!] is simply a bonus.
Strawberry Coconut Lime Popsicles
Makes 5 popsicles
- 1 lb. strawberries, stemmed, hulled and chopped
- 2 Tbs. sugar
- 1 c. coconut milk
- Juice of 2 limes
- ¼ c. honey
- Simmer strawberries and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, mashing the strawberries slightly. Allow to cook for about 5-10 minutes until juices form.
- Strain out the juice and set aside the strawberries.
- Mix together strawberry juice, coconut milk, lime juice, and honey in a medium bowl.
- Divide the strawberries among popsicle molds and pour the strawberry/coconut mixture over the top. Use a spoon to remove any air bubbles [banging it on the counter also helps], adding more mixture as needed.
- Freeze for 8 hours before serving.
Strawberry Cucumber Mint Popsicles
Makes 5 popsicles
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 12 mint leaves
- 1/4 c. simple syrup [or your favorite clear alcohol if you’d like to make them boozy]
- 1/4 c. water
- 6 strawberries, stemmed, hulled, and chopped
- Blend cucumber, mint, and simple syrup together in food processor. Add water and stir to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
- Meanwhile, prep the strawberries and add about 1 chopped strawberry to each popsicle mold [more or less as you prefer].
- Fill popsicle molds with cucumber-mint mixture, using a spoon to push down liquid amid the strawberries.
- Freeze for approximately 8 hours before consuming.