Cool & Fruity Treats for Sweet Summertime

What comes to mind when you think about summer? Barbecues, baseball, a break from school, longer days spent at the pool? Undoubtedly, you think about sizzling temperatures, too! As the temperatures continue to rise this summer, I’m sharing some fruity treats that are sure to help you cool down even as July continues to heat up.

Each one of these simple snacks highlights the natural sweetness summertime has to offer. Yes, these snacks are kid-friendly, but they’re adult-friendly too (because I don’t necessarily believe in “kid food”).


Make-Your-Own Banana Bites

IMG_1576What’s rich, creamy, and sweet AND loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants? Dark-chocolate dipped banana bites! You can find similar (and perhaps prettier, more uniform) versions of these cool treats in your grocery store. The catch? You’ll pay a higher price than you’d pay making them yourself. Plus, you’ll miss out on making them your own by adding peanut butter or Sunbutter between bite-sized pieces of banana, rolling them in chopped nuts or shredded coconut before the chocolate hardens, or dipping them in the darkest the chocolate you can find (for more health-promoting, disease fighting antioxidants). Here’s how you make them at home…

Ingredients

  • 3-4 Bananas
  • Dark Chocolate (I used a 16 oz. bag of dark chocolate morsels)
  • Optional: Assorted toppings such as Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Chopped Nuts, Shredded Coconut, Sea Salt, etc.

Instructions

  1. Peel ripe bananas and slice into bite-sized pieces or chunks…you can choose the size.
  2. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Cover and pop into the freezer until firm (at least 1 hour).
  3. If you plan to use toppings, place them in shallow bowls and keep them nearby.
  4. When bananas are frozen, melt dark chocolate over a double-boiler or in a microwave-safe bowl. The package should provide instructions for melting. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth.
  5. Remove bananas from freezer. One-by-one, quickly spoon chocolate over banana bite until completely covered. The chocolate will harden quickly after touching the cold banana. Let any excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.
  6. Now is the time to add your toppings, dipping or sprinkling them over the banana. Place the banana bite back on the lined baking tray and repeat until each banana bite is covered in chocolate. Note: You’ll want to keep the bananas as cold as possible during this process.
  7. Place banana bites in airtight container, and pop them back into the freezer until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Chilled Watermelon Pops

July is National Watermelon Month, and what better way to celebrate the perfect sweetness of watermelons than with Chilled Watermelon Pops? Watermelon is such a refreshing snack, and you may be surprised to know it can help with hydration.

Ingredients

  • Watermelon
  • Popsicle Sticks

Instructions

  1. Quarter watermelon lengthwise.
  2. Take each quarter of the watermelon and slice into 1″ – 1.5″ slices. The slices should be shaped like triangles.
  3. Take a sharp knife and make a small slit in the center of the watermelon rind.
  4. Insert popsicle stick into slit.
  5. Enjoy immediately or place in the refrigerator or freezer for an extra cool snack to be enjoyed later.

Yogurt Bark

During fall and winter months, I love making peppermint and other types of candy barks with white chocolate. In a frozen, nutritious twist on this holiday favorite of mine, the yogurt stands in for white chocolate and colorful fruit takes center stage rather than candy. By combining the fruit which contains carbohydrates with protein-packed yogurt, this snack is sweet and more satisfying!

Ingredients

  • 1 large container of yogurt (Choose your favorite flavor.)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (optional; best if using plain yogurt)
  • Assorted chopped fruits

Instructions

  1. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. If using plain yogurt, mix with vanilla extract.
  3. Spoon or pour yogurt onto baking sheet and spread to even thickness.
  4. Sprinkle chopped fruit onto yogurt, lightly pressing into the yogurt. Freeze 3-4 hours or until frozen solid.
  5. Break apart and enjoy! Store extra in the freezer in an airtight container or zip-loc bag.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy all the cool, fresh fruit summertime has to offer?

If you liked this post, you may also like:

 

Pumpkin Spiced Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

Pumpkin Spice Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal Fall Recipe

If you’re like me, you have certain memories, flavors, and smells attached to each season. When I think of fall, my mind goes to changing leaves, cooler temperatures, college football, and my favorite comfort foods. Included in my list of fall comfort foods are soul-warming flavors like apple, cranberries, cinnamon, and pumpkin (so cliche, but so true, right?!).

With this Pumpkin Spiced Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal, it feels like I’m basically eating fall in a bowl. I prefer to enjoy it with the back door open, letting the cool breeze in while listening to rustling leaves and watching them fall from the trees in our back yard. My ideal morning…and if it’s a Saturday, College GameDay may also be on TV in the background. Y’all know this kind of weather doesn’t last long in Memphis, so I take full advantage when I can!

That being said, I also recognize mornings rarely happen this way for many of you, and fortunately, this oatmeal is perfect for reheating on a busy work or school week morning. The recipe fills a 9 x 13″ dish, so there’s usually plenty leftovers to go around. Pair with a little protein (like eggs, milk, nuts, or yogurt), and you’ve got a delicious, nourishing breakfast that will put you back in your happy place for at least a few minutes before breakfast time is over.

Pumpkin Spice Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal Fall Recipe

INGREDIENTS

For the cooked apples:

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 large apples, peeled and sliced (your favorite variety…I use Granny Smith)
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. brown sugar

For the oatmeal:

1 cup steel cut oats
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
4 cups very hot water (*Kitchen Hack* I use our Keurig without a pod for this. Easy!)
½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 cups old-fashioned oats
¼ cup maple syrup
½-1 cup dried cranberries or walnuts (optional)
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
Dash ground cloves
½ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup whole milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Place the steel cut oats in a large bowl with 4 tablespoons of butter.  Pour the hot water over the oats and cover the bowl.  Let stand for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Stir in the apple slices, cinnamon, and sugar.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are golden brown and caramelized, about 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat.

After the steel cut oats have finished soaking, stir in the old fashioned oats, ½ cup of brown sugar, maple syrup, salt, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the pumpkin, milk and vanilla.  Stir the pumpkin mixture into the oat mixture. Stir in the walnuts or dried cranberries (optional).

Spread the apples over the bottom of a lightly greased 2 quart-ish baking dish.  Pour the oatmeal mixture on top of the apples.  Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.

**To reheat leftovers, add a splash of milk and heat in microwave ~1 minute.

Adapted from:

Annie’s Eats & King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking


If you liked this post, you may also like:

Easy “Have it Your Way” Chili Recipe

Fleet Feet Sports Zoom Through The Zoo

Through much of my childhood, my dad owned a running shoe and apparel store called Fleet Feet Sports. I was still playing dress-up and lugging around my Barney & Baby Bop stuffed animals at the time he opened the store, but I still remember chowing down on this chili at that early age. Chili nights were the only nights that my parents didn’t have to beg me to drink my milk. Every bowl of chili I ate was served with a glass of ice cold milk to cool my mouth off from the spices in the chili.

Weird combination? Maybe. But I loved it!

Before you stop reading because you don’t like spicy food…

Have it your way: Spice

The thing I love about this chili is you can “have it your way.” In other words, yours can have as little or as much heat as your family prefers. In the 2-alarm chili kit (which you can find at your local grocery store or online), you’ll find little packets of pre-measured chili powder, paprika, salt, dehydrated onion & garlic, cumin, oregano, red pepper, and corn masa flour.

Use this guide for spicing up your chili…

How spicy do you like your chili (using 2 alarm chili kit)?

An added bonus…

No need to go purchase and measure out a bunch of spices for this chili! How easy (and inexpensive) is that?

Have it your way: Protein

Right about now, you may be asking: “How does your childhood and your dad’s store relate to chili?” Great question. One of my dad’s employees (who happened to be vegan) gave him the recipe for this chili, making him promise to never put meat in it. Since my dad made the promise, he typically incorporated veggie crumbles, but you could also make it with beans and veggies only.

As a meat-eater, I’m so glad I wasn’t the one who made that promise! My family typically incorporates ground beef, turkey, or venison into the recipe. All you’ll need to do is brown your protein of choice in a large Dutch oven before adding the other ingredients.

Whether you like your chili meatless, beefy, with ground turkey and with mild, medium, or spicy hot flavors, this chili recipe can be customized to your taste buds and flavor preferences!

Are you understanding why I call this Easy “Have it Your Way” Chili now?

Let’s recap…

  • All spices are pre-measured in one little box.
  • You can make the chili mild, medium, spicy, or super spicy.
  • You can incorporate the protein of your choosing.

Finally, guess what else you can do to have this chili your way?

Have it your way: Toppings

Garnish you chili with the toppings of your choice! Try cheese, avocado, scallions, red onion, cilantro, sour cream, or Greek yogurt.


Easy “Have It Your Way” Chili

This recipe makes quite a bit of chili which is great for leftovers or freezing for a later date. The chili tastes great reheated in the microwave or on the stove. If thick enough, it could also be incorporated into a chili cheese quesadilla.

INGREDIENTS

1 pound ground beef, turkey, venison, veggie crumbles (protein of your choice)

8 ounce can tomato sauce

1 can Rotel (10 oz)

1 can red beans (16 oz), drained & rinsed

1 can navy beans (16 oz), drained & rinsed

1 can kidney beans (16 oz), drained & rinsed

1 can pinto beans (16 oz), drained & rinsed

1 box 2 Alarm Chili Kit (see notes below)

  • Add salt to taste. Personally, I’ve never used the whole packet.
  • Add red pepper to taste.
    • Mild: Skip the red pepper.
    • Medium: Use one-third to half of the packet.
    • Hot: Use at least 1/2 of the packet.
    • Super spicy: Use the whole packet.
  • Omit masa (unless the chili needs to be thickened).

1 cup water

DIRECTIONS

  1. In large pot, brown ground beef. Drain if needed.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and simmer.
  3. Top with cheese, sour cream, avocado, or other toppings of your choice.

It’s chilly outside, so what better time to make this easy “Have it Your Way” Chili inside? How will you be making your chili? What are your favorite chili toppings? I’d love to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like these posts: