Summer Snacks and Treats: Go Ahead and Indulge Your Cravings!
Ice cream and popsicles have always been summer staples, yet despite being a surefire way to beat the summer heat, these tasty treats are most often packed with sugar and artificial additives.
If you live in the suburbs and hear the ice cream truck jingle every afternoon like clockwork, then I have a little secret to share with you that will be music to your ears. I have tricked my children into believing whenever they hear the progression of what can only be described as creepy clown music getting closer to our house, this is a sign that the truck is out of ice cream. This little white lie has never been disputed in 6 years, and I am prepared to take this one to the grave.
Does this mean you can never again indulge in summertime treats to beat the heat? Au contraire, mon cher. In fact, I am here to encourage you to indulge your cravings! These summer snacks are not just for kids, but for folks young and old, that are healthy and refreshing, allowing you to kick guilt to the curb.
There is a famous ventriloquist named Jeff Dunham who has a character he calls José Jalapeño on a Stick, who comments after everything with the phrase “on a stick.” So in honor of José, this is my recipe for fruit salad…on a stick.
This is perfect for those times you want a refreshing snack that is both quick and easy. It’s not only fun for kids to eat, but they can also help with the assembly. No utensils required.
- 50 strawberries, hulled
- 50 pieces cantaloupe or 50 pieces mandarin oranges
- 50 pieces pineapple
- 50 pieces kiwi fruits or 50 pieces honeydew melon
- 100 blueberries
- 50 bamboo or other disposable skewers
- If using wooden or bamboo skewers, make sure all the splinters are removed by rolling two together in your hands, or rub them over each other, as if you are sharpening a knife.
- Cut the fruit that is not already small into 1-inch, bite-size chunks.
- First, skewer the strawberry.
- Then, skewer the cantaloupe or orange.
- Then, skewer the pineapple.
- Then, skewer the kiwifruit or honeydew melon.
- Then, finish the skewer with 2 blueberries on the pointed end. Make sure to push them up fairly high, so they don’t slip off.
You can really use any fruit that is seasonal, and feel free to get creative. Fruits with a high water content are a great way to rehydrate as well as cool down!
Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
I have taste tested dozens of homemade ice cream recipes and have found quite a few that are worthy of posting. Some require you to vigorously shake the ingredients in tightly sealed bags of ice and salt, which, by the way, kills two birds with one stone when you make it as shaking the bag is a good 10-minute workout. Some recipes require the ice cream to sit overnight, which “ain’t nobody got time for that.”
I have come up with a pretty darn good recipe which is ready instantly, and depending on which flavor of protein you use, the sky is really the only limit to the flavor combinations you can come up with.
Since my favorite flavor of BioTRUST Low Carb is Chocolate-Peanut Butter, I decided to make a Peanut Butter Cup ice cream. I don’t want to toot my own horn too much, but it is really amazing.
I use a Vita-Mix blender because you will really want the ice to be completely broken down. This is kind of important to achieve the consistency of ice cream.
- 4 cups of ice
- 2 scoops of BioTRUST Chocolate-Peanut Butter Low Carb Protein Blend
- 1 cup almond milk
Optional add-ins: Chocolate chips and/or 1 Tbsp of natural peanut butter
- Throw everything (except the add-ins) in the blender and pulse on high until everything is blended to the desired consistency.
- Grab a spoon and enjoy!
BONUS: Grab two Low Carb Protein Cookies and add a scoop of ice cream in the middle for a healthy ice cream sammich. This is a protein-packed pleasure if I have ever seen one.
Don’t let the name fool you, as there is nothing dirty about this iced coffee drink. Traditional chai tea combines black tea, milk, sweeteners, and various spices and is served warm or iced, and a “dirty chai” is made by adding a shot of espresso. My take on this centuries old beverage not only uses our Low Carb Protein Blend as both the milk and sweetener substitute, but it is blended with ice and served cold, which is perfect for a hot summer day.
- 1 cup brewed chai tea
- 1 scoop Café Mocha Low Carb Protein Blend
- Ice cubes to blend
- Throw everything into a blender until a frothy mixture is created.
- Serve immediately.
You could add some additional spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper, which are traditional to the recipe served in India. You could also make a similar beverage with green tea, or whichever blend of tea leaves is your preference. Tea in general has been shown to have a calming, soothing effect and acts as a natural digestive aid, giving folks a wonderful sense of well-being.
Traditional caprice salads are layered, or stacked on a plate, and require utensils to consume. I have found you can just as easily serve large sliced heirloom tomatoes, slices of fresh mozzarella, and basil in a large romaine leaf drizzled with balsamic, and it becomes perfect for a picnic.
I have also discovered you can stack cherry tomatoes, smaller rolled mozzarella balls, and basil on a toothpick for a finger food that is almost too pretty to eat. I suppose this version could be called “Caprese on a Stick.”
- 4 large lettuce leaves (Romaine works beautifully)
- 4 slices heirloom tomatoes (or 12 slices of Roma tomatoes)
- 4 slices fresh mozzarella
- 4 basil leaves
- Balsamic vinegar
- Add one slice of tomato, cheese, and basil to each lettuce leaf
- Drizzle balsamic vinegar on top of each one
I often add a slice of crisp bacon to the boat, which turns this into a BLT (hold the mayo, add cheese). So good.
If you are making the Caprese on a Stick, depending on how many you are making, you would simply add one cherry tomato, one mini mozzarella ball, and ½ basil leaf to each toothpick. You would then drizzle some Balsamic vinegar on top of each one before serving.
I have also replaced the tomato all together and used watermelon. This is a whole different flavor combination, but similar in the refreshment factor. Definitely a step outside of my culinary comfort zone, but one that proved to be enjoyable.
No Bake Parfait
This is one of those summertime snacks that looks like you spent a bunch of time on, and tastes that way too. Nobody has to know you barely stepped foot in the kitchen, and what looks sinful is really anything but.
- 1/3 cup steel cut oats
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 2 ½ cups Greek yogurt
- ½ cup of berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)
- optional: chia seeds, flax seeds, nuts
- Layer each of the ingredients in order (oats, milk, yogurt, fruit)
- Cover and place in refrigerator overnight.
- Serve parfait style or mix it all together.
I usually garnish with an additional few pieces of fruit and a sprinkle of oats, and I always use a clear bowl or glass so you can see each yummy layer.
Vegan Chocolate Mousse
Some of my friends and family members are either vegan or aren’t very tolerant to dairy. Well, this one’s for you, guys! This recipe contains no dairy and no sugar outside of the natural sweetness of dates. I have cooked with dates only a handful of times, and I can honestly say this is one of my favorite versions of a chocolate mousse. I will be awaiting feedback from our vegan readers.
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips (or raw dark chocolate)
- 1/4 cup whole chestnuts, roasted and peeled
- 8 whole pitted dates
- 2 Tbsps unsweetened coconut flakes
- 2 Tbsps unsweetened cocoa powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup cold water
- Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave; set aside to cool.
- Puree the chestnuts, dates, coconut, cocoa powder, and salt in a food processor.
- Add chocolate and pulse until combined.
- Add water and pulse until the mixture is the consistency of thick soup.
- Pour into serving cups, cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Usually as summer kicks off, I place my order for Zipzicles™ and begin to look for new and improved ways to sneak some fruit into my diet in the simplest way. My concoctions have become what I am now calling the “Fit Pop.”
Some weeks, I will simply puree various fruits and call it a day. For those, you don’t really need a recipe—just a healthy imagination.
For this year’s new fan favorite, I zested roughly a tablespoon of lemon peel and added to that 13 ounces of coconut milk. I stirred in 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt. And for the finishing touch, I added 3/4 cup of BioTRUST Nutrition Low Carb Protein Blend. For this particular recipe, I used Creamy Vanilla, but I would venture to say the Strawberry Banana flavor would be pretty darn amazing, too.
Once all the ingredients were combined, I divided the mixture up evenly in my Zipzicles, and froze overnight. You could just as easily use popsicle containers, or even small containers with lids.
As mentioned, you could use any flavor of Low Carb, and you could add berries or whatever fruit you enjoy. I think next time I will try zesting another citrus fruit such as a lime or maybe an orange. The orange zest combined with Creamy Vanilla Low Carb sounds like a dreamsicle. I bet that would be delicious.
This is a guilt-free pleasure I can feel great about serving to my friends and family. I may even surprise the baseball team with these as a terrific post-game snack.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Generally speaking, I like to stay as far away from the oven as possible in the summer. This usually limits cooking cakes and pies, so you know it has to be something special to get me baking in June through August.
The combination of naturally sweet strawberries and the strong, tart taste of rhubarb creates a flavor explosion in your mouth. The subtle crumb topping is what really brings this dessert all together.
- 2 cups rhubarb, diced
- 2 cups strawberries, diced
- Zest from one orange (or lemon)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 5 Tbsps honey
- Pinch of salt
- 1½ Tbsp arrowroot powder
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ¾ cup almond flour
- 2 Tbsps coconut flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup honey
- 4 Tbsps coconut oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Stir strawberries and rhubarb with the orange zest, lemon juice, honey, salt, and arrowroot powder.
- In a separate bowl, mix the pecans, flours, cinnamon, salt, and honey.
- Cut in the coconut oil with your hands or a pastry cutter until the mixture begins to form crumbs.
- Grease an oven-proof casserole or skillet and spoon in the fruit filling.
- Crumble the topping evenly over the top.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until fruit mixture begins to bubble.