Friday, July 25, 2014

Congratulations, Winners!

Congratulations to RayeHawk who wanted to freeze her yogurt mixed with a little fruit puree, Joanne Kemp who wants to try making fudgsicles, and Rebekah Whitlock who thought up like a bazillion uses including salad dressing and Jell-o shot pops!  You three have won a pack of Zipzicle pouches!  Please e-mail me your addresses and Zipzicle will send out your prizes!  Thank you to all who entered!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ice-Pops, Ideas, and a Give Away...

12 Ways to use Zipzicles Ice-Pop Pouches

So these are Zipzicles.

Zipzicle Ice-Pop Pouches
     You want these.  My friend Cara from Fork and Beans found some at Cost Plus World Market and went on to make some lovely homemade Otter-type pops.  I fiddled around on the Internet a bit and found that WizCo is just a few miles from my house!  They graciously sent me a sample pack and I went a little bonkers, ya'll.  I just kept on thinking of things to use these little pouches for!

Zipzicle Ice-Pops, Use 1 of 12
     First off, I did make pops.  'Cuz yeah, Summer.  These are each a different type of juice.  The clear one is a simple infused water concoction of nasturtium and mint.  Not sweet for the kiddles, but so nice for me on hot days!  Each pouch contains almost 1/2 a cup, so to make my grown-up Zipzicle:

Nasturtium and Mint Ice-Pop
1/2 C water per pop
2 nasturtium flowers per
1 two inch sprig fresh mint (about 5 leaves) per

Combine in a cup and let steep for 30 minutes.  You can muddle it a bit at the end if you like.  I chopped up a few blossoms to make it pretty, but you don't need to.  If you are using flowers, place a few chopped blossoms into the pouch, pour infused water in to the fill line, close bag, and tilt it back and forth gently to distribute the flowers evenly.  Lay flat for a few hours to freeze.

Homemade Nasturtium Mint Ice-Pops from Crackers on the Couch

The other pops are juices I bought at Trader Joe's, one is the Very Green Smoothie, one is carrot, and one is Tart Cherry.  The cherry one is especially good.  We also enjoy orange, grape, and fruit puree pops regularly!

And now for the rest!

Zipzicle Yogurt Tubes Use 2 of 12
     Next up, can we just talk about how long I've been wanting to make yogurt tubes?  I don't like store bought ones that are full of sugar and chemicals, and the organic frilly ones are few and far between.  I have thought for years that there had to be a better way.  Some way to make yogurt tubes at home.  This is it, yo!  These are homemade yogurt sweetened with a bit of honey.  No cane, beet or corn sugar, no rBST, just milk, bacteria, and honey.  Yummers.

Zipzicle Applesauce pouches Use 3 of 12!
     Number 3 is applesauce pouches.  1/2 C is a good portion of sauce.  You can fill past the fill line if you're not going to freeze it.  I found that the best way to fill these pouches with thicker things like yogurt and applesauce is to use a pastry bag to fill them half way, tap it once or twice to get out the bubble, and then fill the rest of the way.  For thicker substances or tough bubbles, a poke or two with a chop-stick will go a long way.

Zipzicle cracker pouch, use 4 of 12!
     Fourth up, any small, amusingly shaped cracker will fit beautifully into these pouches.  It's slightly less than a serving size, but just right for a lunchbox or a quick snack after karate.

Cute little s'mores treat sacks: Use 5 of 12! And speaking of snacks, let's talk dessert, shall we?  A few mini chocolate chips, some tiny marshmallows, and a graham cracker bear or two.  A large pastry tip makes a nice funnel for the chocolate chips.  I know this is the complete embodiment of opposite from what I said about the yogurt tubes, but you know, cute is cute sometimes and dessert is dessert and s'mores is s'mores.

Zipzicle pouches for trail mix: Use 6 of 12!
     For a healthier alternative while camping or hiking, Good Old Raisins and Peanuts really hit the spot.  A serving of peanuts almost fills up to the fill line, mix in a few raisins and GORP's your uncle!

Zipzicle pouches for packing hummus: Use 7 of 12!
     For flying, camping, or car trips, hummus makes a great snack, and 1/2 a cup of hummus makes a pretty healthy portion!  The flexibility of the pouches makes it really easy to get all of it out.  I've got a straw brush that I used to clean the pouches out after the hummus.

Zipzicles for Jello!  Use 8 of 12
    Again, with the food coloring, but you know what?  There's exactly enough room in these pouches for Jell-o.  I used the quick-set method so that the heat wouldn't melt the plastic.  Sets up faster that way, too!  I wonder if agar agar jello would work in these, but I think that by the time it was cool enough to pour, it would be set too far.  An experiment for another day, perhaps.
Zipzicles as party favor bags!  Use 9 of 12!
     Need a sweet little pouch for party favors?  Fill them up with candy, jewelry, or confetti!  (Maybe don't give out the confetti filled ones until the end of the party...)

Zipzicle soup pouches!  A great snack and use 10 of 12!
     I think this is my favorite idea: A little tomato soup and a pouch of oyster crackers!  Again, I poured the soup in cold, and served it at room temp.  It's a nice, healthy change-of-pace snack for the kid who's tired of cheese sticks and fruit slices.

Zipzicle craft packs!  Use 11 of 12.
     And then there are the non-food options.  Let's talk art-on-the-go, shall we?  Four thin markers fit very well in here, four or five colored pencils would do nicely, as well.  Just right for trips!  You can fit a few pipe-cleaners in here, too I bet, though I haven't tried it.  I did try Rainbow Loom bands and they were near impossible to get back out. Think, long and thin, and things that shake out easily.

Zipzicle small toy pouch.  Use 12 of 12.
     Speaking of things that shake out easily, a few Lego bricks are just the thing for a quick creation on the go.  Nanoblocks fit well, Micro Machines, too.

Here's a few more ideas!   
I haven't tested them, but you can!
  • Make your own "Pedialyte" pops.  Coconut water is an excellent (and more tasty) electrolyte replenisher!
  • Try these for pureed baby foods or toddler snacks like Cheerios.
  • Going camping? Fill one with ketchup, one with mayo, and one with mustard.
  • Maybe a small First-Aid Kit, a couple of Band-aids and a tube of Neosporin.
  • What about filling one with mouthwash for weekend trips?
And Now, A Give Away!!
Have some ideas for these lovely little bags?  Wanna get some for free?  Well, you, my friend are in the right place!  WizCo is allowing me to give three lucky people a free 12-pack of Zipzicle pouches!  Leave me a comment here or on my facebook page with your favorite ice-pop flavor or a new idea for the bags and you'll be entered to win!  Contest ends on Friday so chime in!

*Give Away Has Now Ended*

Monday, June 23, 2014

Flowers for Breakfast...

Marigold, Thimbleberry, Thyme, Salsify, Borage, Pea, Lavender, Dandelion, Nasturtium, Blackberry, Pak Choi

Flowers are an unusual and underused way to brighten and beautify your plate.  Seeing the sad, wilting, expensive box of organic flowers in my grocery store every week never inspired me to try edible flowers.  Last year, I grew some nasturtiums as a pest control measure in my garden and was surprised at how delicious they were!  One of my favorite early Summer drinks is lavender lemonade, so much so that I bought the lavender we have just so I can make it once a year.  This year, I bought some new veggies because I'm always trying new things and found I love borage and since my pak choi came up and went directly to seed, we have been eating the blossoms.  Last night, while inspecting my squash for potential blossoms, it occurred to me how many edibles I had blooming right now.  So here I am sharing them with you!  This is by no means an exhaustive list of all edible plants.  It's more like a snapshot of my garden in the middle of June.  If you are equally uninspired by your grocery store, may I suggest planting a flower garden?

Crackers on the Couch: Edible Flowers, Maridold

Marigolds have a bitter taste at first that mellows out into a floral aftertaste.

Uses: Salads, garnishes, jelly
Crackers on the Couch: Edible Flowers, Thyme Blossoms

Thyme: First taste is like a slightly sweet thyme, which is followed by a little herbal burn (similar to fresh oregano), finishes as a straight thyme flavor.

Uses: Salads, smoothies, soups, garnish for chicken

Crackers on the Couch: Edible Flowers, Salsify Flowers

Salsify: Slightly sweet petals, the stem starts out with a green flavor, becomes peppery and ultimately tastes very similar to thyme.

Facebook users may recognize this as my quiz plant from a few weeks ago. Nobody got it right!

Uses: Salads, salad dressings
Crackers on the Couch: Edible Flowers, Blackberry Flowers

Himalayan Blackberry petals are slightly bitter, the stamen are powdery and lacking flavor, but the blossoms are undeniably beautiful.

Uses: Salads, garnish
Crackers on the Couch: Edible Flowers, Pak Choi Blossoms

Pak Choi taste very much like how daffodils smell: floral, earthy, and fresh.  They have a slight kale or broccoli flavor, being in the same family.

Uses: Salads, smoothies
Crackers on the Couch: Edible Flowers, Blue Podded Pea blossomCrackers on the Couch: Edible Flowers, Little Marvel Pea Blossom

Garden Peas: The white flower is off a bush pea called Little Marvel and the purple one is off a climber called a Blue Podded Pea.  They taste like green peas, fresh out of the garden, pod and all.  The finish is very similar to alfalfa sprouts. 

*I was going to give a warning about Sweet Peas, the ornamental flower, since I had heard they were poisonous.  Mr. Internet says this is a bit of a misconception.  The only thing that isn't safe to eat in large quantities is the hardened seed of the Sweet Pea.  Still, if you want to be cautious, don't eat them.  More flowers for bees!

Uses: Salads, garnish
Crackers on the Couch: Edible Flowers, Spanish Lavender Blossoms

Spanish lavender has a strong, herbal, well basically, lavendery flavor. 

Uses: Lemonade, baking

Thimbleberry petals have a very slight floral citrus taste.

Uses: Salads, salad dressing, garnish

Borage: Once you get past the fur, you are rewarded with a strong cucumber flavor.

Uses: Salads, sandwiches, salad dressing

Nasturtium: Spicy, think horseradish without the burn, peppery, finishing with a slightly sweet taste.

Uses: Salad, garnish, salad dressing, pizza

Dandelion: The petals are really fabulously sweet, but the greens taste like earwax, so pluck these before adding them to anything.

Uses: Salads, wine, jelly, tea

If you want to use flowers in your salad, I suggest picking them before you are ready to serve.  Many of these flowers wilt soon after picking.  Nasturtiums, marigolds, lavender, and borage will last the longest, but any Mom who's been given a dandelion bouquet knows how quickly those go south!

My spinach, pak choi, cilantro, and lettuce are bolting right now.  I've been using the flowers in smoothies every morning to try to extend the season a bit.  I'll be doing the same thing as soon as the purslane, and basil go.
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