Dole whip popsicles

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If Dole Whip isn't your favorite Disney park food, then what's wrong with you? For those of you who don't know, Dole Whip is basically pineapple soft serve. But's it's so so much better than that description implies.

I swear I'm going to tell you how to make it in a minute, but first I need to talk about some parenting challenges we're having. As always, skip to the next photo if you're only here for the food!

Lately, parenting has felt like being on a high ropes course. It's wobbly and scary and you rarely feel surefooted. Occasionally you reach a platform and feel like a badass who has everything figured out. But then you start the next leg of the course and feel even more wobbly because now you're tired and also annoyed at yourself for not learning enough from the earlier stages. And while you're taking all the necessary precautions, what if you prove the tragic exception?

The long and short of it is, M started preschool 2 months ago and isn't adjusting all that well. He's acting out a bit and having trouble sitting still and it's been hard to watch.

I want to chalk it all up to his being three and starting a new school (any school, for that matter), but words like "evaluation" and "sensory issues" have already been floated.

Maybe I'm just taking it too hard. To me, he's still the chubby cheeked baby with long eyelashes and a silly lisp, so to hear anything different is hard to accept. I'm sure most parents go through some form of growing pains the first time they get any negative feedback about their child. But oof, does it feel like a knife to the heart. 

And I'm doing my best not to let the feedback make me feel distant or separate from M. At first, hearing about his behavior made me feel like I didn't know him at all. But some 3-year-old acting out doesn't make him a bad kid and the more empathy I can have for him while we all hang in there and try to figure this out, the more successful he'll be when facing challenges in the future. 

But for now, it's just... rough.

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Anyway, this recipe is a great one to make with kids. M loves adding the ingredients and pushing the button on the food processor and that's really the whole shebang. He also calls Dole Whip, Dole "Yip," and it kills me.

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If you plan on eating this right away, then you get the true Dole Whip experience (well, a close approximation anyway). If not, and this recipe makes a lot so you won't likely eat it all in one sitting anyway, freezing it as popsicles is the most successful way to enjoy the leftovers. It freezes really hard, so trying to recreate that soft serve texture is nearly impossible later on. But the mixture makes oh-so-refreshing popsicles. Hang on to some for the first 90-degree day (here in CT, anyway) and thank me later.

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Dole Whip

2 large bananas, peeled and frozen
1 lb bag of frozen pineapple chunks
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 can full-fat coconut milk

Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Eat immediately or pour into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 2 hours.

Yield: 24 small popsicles or about 4 cups of soft serve

Dole whip bowl. Feel no shame about eating this for breakfast.

Dole whip bowl. Feel no shame about eating this for breakfast.

Blueberry and beet popsicles

Whooooeeeey, what a week. I completely missed popsicle week last week, interestingly, because I was busy making popsicles for my very sick child. Have any of you dealt with Coxsackie? I had never heard of it before having children, but apparently it's a virus that's been around forever and we've all had it.

Also, it's terrible. Thanks to a really sore throat and a high fever, M basically ate nothing for two days, so we tried lots of different frozen treats. Aside from these blueberry and beet-sicles, we made carrot, apple, and coconut treats using carrot juice, apple juice, and coconut milk; Orange coconut creamsicles using orange juice and coconut milk; and a roasted mango concoction that I'm still working on. I'll be honest, the ones with vegetables didn't go over as well while M was sick, but when he's healthy, he gobbles them up. 

Can I confess something? I don't really like beets. I also HATE cooking them myself, though everyone claims that it's sooooo easy. Whelp, I bought the beets in this photo because they were cheap and pretty at the farmer's market, but I fully used the organic pre-cooked ones you can buy at the grocery store that are vacuum sealed in plastic. I refuse to ruin my cutting board for a vegetable I don't even like.

However, I DO like beets when they're mixed with other things; chocolate, goat cheese, blueberries, etc.

This puree is great on its own or when mixed with yogurt, cooked grains, or pureed proteins for more advanced eaters. I personally love eating these as popsicles and would one day like to spike them with some sort of alcohol. For M, I mixed the blueberry/beet puree with a yogurt, almond butter, and honey combo that cut the fruit and veggies with something a little creamier. I also encourage you to make popsicles using just the yogurt mixture because they. are. great. Even my sick,-as-a-dog child ate the frozen yogurt. 

A couple of notes: If you have the temerity to cook the beets yourself, here's how. Otherwise, do what I do and use the precooked ones. Be sure to roast the blueberries (don't skip this step!) because raw ones in frozen treats don't have a strong flavor. Does anyone else notice that frozen raw fruit tastes blander? Anyway, I also recommend eating these only while wearing dark colors and/or when you can immediately dunk your child in water to clean up because they're a little messy. But isn't that half the fun of a popsicle?

Beet and blueberry puree and popsicles  

For the puree:
1.5 cups fresh blueberries (about 1 pint, minus whatever is filched by your toddler)
¾ cup chopped beets (about 3 very small)
¼ tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375. Spread the blueberries on a foil- or parchment-covered baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, until the berries are soft and fragrant, but haven't burst. Place the blueberries and beets in the blender, add the cinnamon, and puree until you've reached your desired consistency. 

Yield: 1.5 cups or 12 oz of puree

For the pops:
1 cup full fat plain yogurt
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp almond butter (preferably salted)

Fill the popsicle molds 1/2 way with the blueberry and beet mixture and freeze for at least 30 minutes or until the mixture begins to set. Fill the rest of the molds with the yogurt mixture and freeze solid, at least 5-6 hours.

Yield: 4 large ice pops

Cheers!

Cheers!

Candy corn popsicles

The colors of candy corn, but none of the preservatives. Candy corn popsicles | Me & the Moose #meandthemoose #candycorn #popsicles #puree #coconut #sweetpotato #pear #turmeric

These treats resemble candy corn in color, but not in taste. Because candy corn is disgusting.

The colors of candy corn, but none of the preservatives. Candy corn popsicles | Me & the Moose #meandthemoose #candycorn #popsicles #puree #coconut #sweetpotato #pear #turmeric

However, candy corn says "childhood autumn" for me like nothing else. Mostly because we didn't have cider donuts or pumpkin spice anything back then. Dark times.

The colors of candy corn, but none of the preservatives. Candy corn popsicles | Me & the Moose #meandthemoose #candycorn #popsicles #puree #coconut #sweetpotato #pear #turmeric

These fruit and vegetable purees/pops are packed with seasonal flavors while also being light and refreshing since it was 80 degrees in New York last week. Also, it's always teething season in our house, so these pops are a handy way to soothe the savage beast while also getting some vitamins and good fats into him. These purees are delicious on their own, but especially when combined.

Spices like cinnamon, coriander, ginger, and turmeric make these frozen candy corn-inspired treats so much better than the original. Candy corn popsicles | Me & the Moose #meandthemoose #candycorn #popsicles #puree #coconut #sweetpotato #pear

Banana, coconut milk, and cinnamon puree (White)

Whelp, I thought I was being creative here and then I found this puree on Baby Foodie when I was searching for a different recipe. Credit where it's due: I'm sure this puree was rattling around in my brain because I saw it there originally. It's great! The author recommends microwaving the banana, but I didn't and it was fine. It also froze well. I recommend doubling Baby Foodie's recipe and using the blender for these pops.

 

Sweet potato, coconut milk, and coriander puree (Orange)

Also from Baby Foodie, this combination was one of M's very favorites when he was still eating exclusively purees. For these pops, I used a ratio of 1 cup coconut milk to 1 sweet potato, which is significantly more liquid than is called for in the original recipe, but works in these pops. I used 1 large sweet potato, 1 cup coconut milk, and 1/4 tsp coriander.

 

Pear, apple, ginger, and turmeric puree (Yellow)

2 small or medium pears, peeled
1 large apple, peeled
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp turmeric

Peel the apple and pears, if desired (though if you leave the peel on, you may not get a uniform yellow color). In a steamer basket over boiling water, steam apple chunks for 5 minutes. Add pears and steam for 5 more minutes. Let cool slightly. Combine fruit and spices in a blender and process to desired consistency.

The colors of candy corn, but none of the preservatives. Candy corn popsicles | Me & the Moose #meandthemoose #candycorn #popsicles #puree #coconut #sweetpotato #pear #turmeric

Combine purees in a tall pop mold starting with the coconut, banana, and cinnamon puree. I was too lazy to freeze them in stages, but if you're more precise than I am, you could freeze the white puree for 30 minutes before adding the sweet potatoes to achieve a cleaner color barrier. But, meh.

Yield: 4 double pops (like those pictured) or 8 single pops
 

The colors of candy corn, but none of the preservatives. Candy corn popsicles | Me & the Moose #meandthemoose #candycorn #popsicles #puree #coconut #sweetpotato #pear #turmeric

Orange, peach, mango, and carrot puree

Orange, peach, mango puree and popsicles | Me & The Moose. #Meandthemoose #Orange #Peach #Mango #puree #popsicles

Remember that flavor of orange, peach, mango juice? Maybe it still exists, but I stopped drinking my calories long ago. HOWEVER, I remembered it being so good that I thought, why not try it as a puree with some carrots thrown in for good measure? This puree is vitamin-c-tastic and tasted great as a puree or a frozen pop.

Orange, peach, mango puree and popsicles | Me & The Moose. #Meandthemoose #Orange #Peach #Mango #puree #popsicles

If you're leaving this one as a puree, I recommend eating it within 3 days, as it seemed to go bad fairly fast. But this puree tastes great as a frozen treat, or you can freeze the puree and defrost small batches to maintain freshness.

Orange, peach, mango puree and popsicles | Me & The Moose. Little sails also make hepful handles for little hands. #Meandthemoose #Orange #Peach #Mango #puree #popsicles

Orange, Peach, Mango, and Carrot puree

1 orange, squeezed
1 cup mango, fresh or frozen
2 large peaches or 1 cup frozen
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

Bring a few inches of water to a boil and steam carrots in a steamer basket for 15 minutes, until they are very tender. While steaming the carrots, peel and chop the mango and peaches, or, if using frozen fruit, throw it into the steamer with the carrots for 3 minutes after carrots are done. No need to steam the fresh fruit. Juice the orange. Whizz everything in the blender until you reach your desired consistency. This puree is also delicious with 1 Tbsp of melted coconut oil thrown in for a bit of extra fat.

Cucumber, green apple, and grape puree

Cucumber, green apple, and grape puree | Me & The Moose. Lightly steamed apple, raw grapes, and raw cucumber make a refreshing puree, frozen pop, or gummies. #meandthemoose #toddlerfood #fingerfood #cucumber #grapes #apple #puree #babyfood

Finger foods are rough, y'all. At least, they are in this house. M still does better when most of his veggies and proteins pureed, but he's really into feeding himself and gets ANNOYED when we try to help. He'll happily eat a pouch of broccoli, apples, and green beans (and is getting better at squeezing into his mouth), or fling pureed veggies and proteins from a bowl in the direction of his mouth with a spoon. But if I put a piece of broccoli or a green bean in front of him, he looks at me like, "What is this poison?" So, we're bridging the gap by adding grass fed pastured gelatin to a lot of his purees. This makes them more like gummy snacks, which he can grab easily, but don't look like what they actually are. And they're a lot less messy than purees. The only down side is that the gelatin seems to dull the puree's flavors, so I've had to add honey or maple syrup. Wah wah.

This puree is like a day at the spa and since it's finally SO HOT out, the combo is refreshing for everyone. Below are directions for a straight up puree, frozen pops, and gummies for those finger-food in-betweeners like M.

Also, I realize that there are kiwis in all of these photos, but I'm on the fence about kiwi. I really wanted to include it in this puree, but I initially used a kiwi that wasn't ripe enough and it make my throat tickle. Then, I waited too long and the kiwis had gone a little far south of ripe. If you're a better judge of kiwi ripeness than I am, feel free to throw in a few. I would add an extra tbsp of gelatin if you're making gummies because something in the kiwi softened the gelatin a bit in my tests. 

Cucumber, green apple, and grape puree | Me & The Moose. Lightly steamed apple, raw grapes, and raw cucumber make a refreshing puree, frozen pop, or gummies. #meandthemoose #toddlerfood #fingerfood #cucumber #grapes #apple #puree #babyfood

Cucumber, green apple, and green grape puree

2 large Granny Smith apples
30 green grapes
3-inch piece of hothouse cucumber (if using regular cucumber, remove the seeds with a spoon and use 1/2 cup chopped)

Core and chop the apple into large chunks. For a very smooth puree, skin the apple first, but otherwise, feel free to leave the skin on. Bring a few inches of water to a boil and add apples in a steamer basket. Steam for 8-10 minutes. Puree with raw grapes and cucumber in a food processor or blender. Also yummy is adding 1 Tbsp of melted coconut oil or olive oil to this puree.

Cucumber, green apple, and grape puree | Me & The Moose. Lightly steamed apple, raw grapes, and raw cucumber make a refreshing puree, frozen pop, or gummies. #meandthemoose #toddlerfood #fingerfood #cucumber #grapes #apple #puree #babyfood

For ice pops: Spoon puree directly into ice cube trays, dixie cups, or whatever vessel you prefer and freeze with popsicle sticks for several hours or overnight. Or, you can purchase these fancy pop molds.

For gummies:
2 cups of puree
3 Tbsp honey
5 Tbsp gelatin

Heat puree in a pot or sauce pan over medium low heat until just steaming (do not let the puree boil). Add honey and stir to combine. Slowly (I mean, really slowly) shake in the gelatin while stirring constantly with a whisk. Try not to let the gelatin clump. Once the gelatin has dissolved, continue stirring for a few minutes until puree thickens slightly and all clumps of gelatin have melted. Do not let the combination boil. Pour into any dish large enough to allow for just a .25- .5 inch layer of puree and gelatin mixture (I use this 9 x 9 pan). Allow to set in the fridge.
 

Cucumber, green apple, and grape puree | Me & The Moose. Lightly steamed apple, raw grapes, and raw cucumber make a refreshing puree, frozen pop, or gummies. #meandthemoose #toddlerfood #fingerfood #cucumber #grapes #apple #puree #babyfood