With the summer months in full swing now, I cannot get enough of the various fruits and berries available. Besides being full of flavor, they're also packed with lots of vitamins. While these delicious fruits are great to eat alone, we've found three even more delicious ways to give them an added boost of flavor, and trust me when I tell you - no one will be able to resist!
Berry Lemonade Popsicles
Can you think of a better treat to serve your grand-kids this summer? Probably not! These Berry Lemonade Popsicles are innovative, fresh and incredibly delicious.
• Country Time Berry Lemonade Starter
• Strawberries, sliced
1. In a pitcher, pour 3/4 cup of the Berry Lemonade Starter and fill the pitcher with 7 and 1/4 cups cold water. Stir the ingredients to combine.
2. Add a few sliced strawberries and blueberries to each popsicle mold and fill with the berry lemonade. Place the top of the mold and insert the popsicle sticks then freeze overnight.
3. The next morning, fill your kitchen sink with room temperature water and place the mold in the water - just make sure that the water does not go beyond the top of the mold. Allow it to sit in the water for a couple of seconds. Then wiggle a popsicle free. If it feels tough to get out, leave it set in the water for a couple more seconds.
4. Eat and enjoy your popsicles there and then or wrap them in plastic wrap and return to the freezer.
Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries
If you're looking for something guilt-free, try one of these little cheesecake stuffed strawberries - they are easy to make and perfect for both spring and summer parties.
• 1 lb. fresh strawberries, rinsed and patted dry
• 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
• 1/2 cup powdered sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Graham cracker crumbs, optional
1. Cut off the strawberry stems with a paring knife. Cut around the inside of the strawberry, hollowing out slightly and creating a little well for the cheesecake mix. You may also use a small melon baller. Cut off a small portion of the strawberry tip so that each strawberry can stand and line them up on a large baking sheet.
2. Then, in a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Put the mixture in a pastry bag and pipe into each strawberry adding a little extra to the top. Put them in the fridge and let them chill thoroughly.
3. For an optional finish, you can sprinkle the cracker crumbs on top of each stuffed strawberry.
TIP: This dessert needs to be prepared close to serving time. Do not make them more than 5 hours in advance, as the strawberries will sweat and they will become soggy.
Chocolate-Dipped Frozen Bananas
Here's a tasty banana treat, any fruit and dessert-lover will enjoy.
• 5 large bananas
• 10 wooden sticks
• 24 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
• Assorted toppings: sprinkles, nuts, coconut, etc
1. Peel the bananas and cut them in half, so that you will have 10 banana pieces. At the cut end of each banana, place a wooden stick until it is stable. Then, line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper and place the bananas on the baking sheet, freezing until firm for roughly 1 hour.
2. In a microwave safe bowl, place the chocolate and melt it in 30 second increments. Stir until the chocolate appears melted and smooth. Meanwhile, place your toppings in shallow bowls keeping them within reach (bear in mind that the chocolate hardens quickly, so the next step needs to be done quickly).
3. Remove the bananas from the freezer and the bowl of chocolate from the microwave, then use a large spoon to pour a generous amount of chocolate over the banana, rotating it as you aim to completely cover the banana in chocolate. Let any excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Quickly move the banana over one of the bowls of toppings and sprinkle the toppings over the banana, letting any extra topping drop back into the bowl. repeat with the other bananas, changing the toppings as you go.
4. Eat and enjoy immediately, or store them in an airtight container or zip-top plastic bag in the freezer. Prior to eating them, let them sit at room temperature for about 10 to 15 minutes for the best taste and texture.