When I think about growing up in northern Michigan during the summer, it still kind of blows my mind that we didn’t have air conditioning in our house. Once I got older, my parents caved and bought a few of the window AC units, but really, the weather was so mild that there wasn’t a need to install central air.
Now that I live in south Texas, my life depends on AC and I spend the day hopping from one air conditioned place to another: first my house, then my car, then work, the gym, etc. And even with all that cool air, the heat STILL kicks my ass for the two seconds I spend outside, and makes me want to submerse myself in a pool until October rolls around.
The upside to all of the summer heat is trying out new recipes that help you cool off. When I had the house to myself a few weekends back, I spent a little time in the kitchen trying out a few recipes and coming up with some of my own (I like to cook and try out new recipes solo, since that way no one can point out how much of a mess I make while cooking). So here are a few treats that will cool you off, but are still on the healthy side:
1. FROZEN BANANA BITES
I wish I had a link to where I saw the idea for this, but honestly I don’t remember and couldn’t find it when I tried looking. However, the concept is pretty simple: take a ripe, but not too mushy banana and cut it into slices. Mix together equal parts of natural peanut butter and fat free vanilla Greek yogurt (I used Chobani) and use it as filling to spread between two banana slices, making a “sandwich”. Layer on wax paper, and freeze – so simple, yet so delicious!
2. ORANGE & STRAWBERRY INFUSED SPORTS DRINK (adapted from fitnessista.com)
When I do decide to brave the heat and go run (because even in the heat, running outside > running indoors on the “dreadmill”), I need something to replenish my electrolytes and quench my thirst STAT. I saw this recipe on The Fitnessista’s blog (which is awesome by the way, and great if you need a little workout inspiration or ideas) and have been meaning to make it for some time. I posted the link to her original recipe (http://fitnessista.com/2012/03/strawberry-infused-sports-drink/) and below is my version (I skipped the honey and varied the amounts of a few ingredients). The end result was a slightly sweet strawberry and orange flavored beverage, which kind of reminded me of Tang, the powdered orange drink mix I loved as a kid (but much better!). I also have made a few different versions since, and so far my fave was made with blackberries and 100% pomegranate juice (like POM).
BERRY INFUSED SPORTS DRINK (makes 2 liters)
- 1 ½ cup sliced strawberries (or other berry of choice – black berries are insanely good!)
- 12 oz of Trop 50 Orange Juice or other 100% fruit juice (with no added sugars)
- 4 packets Stevia in the Raw (or other stevia)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Dash of sea salt
- Hot water
Directions: Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a 2 liter pitcher. Fill the rest of the pitcher up with boiling water and mix again. Let it chill overnight and drink up when you’re ready ; )
3. ICED ALMOND MILK COFFEE
Really, this isn’t even a recipe, but more of a little tip for iced coffee lovers like myself. The next time you go to brew some coffee, make some extra and pour into ice cube trays. Let the “coffee cubes” freeze and then pop into an ice cold glass of vanilla almond milk (or other milk of choice). As the ice cubes melt (which doesn’t take long in this weather), you are left with a delicious, creamy coffee mixture that isn’t doesn’t get watered down (my biggest iced coffee pet peeve!).
4. ROOT BEER FLOAT POPSICLES (from Peas and Thank You)
Does anyone else get a little nostalgic for a root beer float from an A&W drive in? I haven’t gone in years, so when I found this recipe I was eager to try it out. While I didn’t go all out and use the cones, I followed the recipe and just froze it in a bowl (sorry, I’m lazy) – still amazing. Below is the original recipe and link to the post from Peas and Thank You, which is one of my favorite blogs for healthy recipe information:
Root Beer Float Popsicles from Peas and Thank You
Makes 4-6 popsicles*
- 1 can or bottle of root beer**
- 1/2 c. non-dairy or organic milk
- 1 T. maple syrup
- dash of salt
- 1/4 t. vanilla extract
*Peas and thank you used a popsicle mold from Tevolo, but depending on the size and type of popsicle mold you have, you may have to adjust the recipe accordingly.
**I used Zevia Root Beer to make these a low-sugar treat per the blogger’s suggestions.
1. Fill each popsicle mold 1/3rd of the way full with root beer. Freeze for 20-30 minutes or until mostly frozen.
2. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine milk, maple syrup, salt and vanilla. Remove popsicle mold from freezer and pour a small amount of vanilla mixture into each popsicle mold to make the “ice cream” layer. Freeze for an additional 20-30 minutes or again, until mostly frozen.
3. Fill each popsicle mold the rest of the way with root beer. Insert popsicle sticks and freeze for an additional hour or two or until completely frozen.
(Original post at http://peasandthankyou.com/2012/04/29/root-beer-float-popsicles/)
Hope you guys enjoy and as always, send any and all recipes or ideas my way – I’m always looking for new inspiration and feedback! : )
Stay cool out there,