As I am a Canadian, I hear alot of talk about the weather. Whew, it’s windy, isn’t it? Gettin’ kinda nippy, I guess that’s fall for you. Beautiful sunshine, though. Nice to get rid of that humidity, too. How much snow do you think we got last night? A foot, foot-n-a-half? Cold enough for ya? Oh, the water is running today – thank God the snow’s starting to melt, I’ve been worried about my basement since November. Is spring ever going to get here? This is the coldest April I can remember. Snow in May? Come on! Were you awake for that storm last night? I swear the lightning hit the ground less than ten feet from my house. Rattled the dishes in the cupboards. You guys, it is so hot out there. Ugh, I’m sweating just sitting here. And on and on and on …. Right now, of course, people-who-talk-about-the-weather are talking about heat. We’re in the middle of a heat wave with no end in sight. It is hot. Searing, screaming-cicada, black-cat-on-a-freshly-tarred-roof, don’t-move-unless-you-have-to hot. Everything’s turning yellow and brown. Well, everything except the lawns of assholes who keep their property as well-watered as a prized race horse – because, you know, we were looking for something to do with all that water anyway.
So, today, I’m taking a break from navel-gazing, bitching and preaching. It’s too darn hot to do any of that. Instead, I’m offering some delicious cool-down recipes. As I said in my last post, I want to talk about popsicles. And a couple of other things, too. I’ve been experimenting with popsicle-making for a few years now, and it’s been rewarding. They’re quick and easy, and having them ready-to-go in your freezer when the mercury starts rising reminds your children that you’re a cool mom (see what I did there – and you’re welcome for the Amy Poehler clip). These are my family’s two favourite recipes:
DULCE DE LECHE LEMON POPSICLES
2 cups milk
1 can condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
pulp of one lemon
Mix all the ingredients together with a whisk, pour into molds, and freeze for at least four hours.
125 g oreo cookies
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
Crumble the cookies. Stir together the sugar and water until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the sour cream, heavy cream and vanilla. Add the oreos and stir to mix. Pour into molds, and freeze for at least four hours.
Note: If you are using wooden popsicle sticks rather than conventional plastic molds, allow the popsicles to freeze for an hour before inserting the sticks.
Not in the mood for popsicles? Feeling more like something decadent? These squares are delicious. They taste like you slaved, but you don’t even have to turn on your oven. Again, my family loves these, and – the true seal-of-approval on a recipe – I took them to a friend’s house-warming party just a couple of weeks ago. They were devoured.
NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE PRETZEL PEANUT BUTTER SQUARES
pretzels (enough to yield 2 cups when crushed)
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 1/4 cups smooth peanut butter
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Make pretzel crumbs by crushing pretzels until the largest pieces are the size of peas (do not grind your pretzels into powder). In a medium bowl, mix pretzel crumbs, butter, icing sugar and 1 cup of the peanut butter. Press this mixture firmly and evenly into your baking pan. Combine the chocolate chips with the remaining 1/4 cup of peanut butter, and melt it in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the mixture is smooth. Spread this over your peanut butter-pretzel base. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before lifting out of the pan by the parchment paper and cutting into squares.
And, after all that kitchen fun, the chef needs a treat, too. So, I leave you with sangria. Again, this recipe is so reliably yummy that I brought a pitcher of it to a party. The same party as the squares. Yes, I’ll be your friend, too. For a fee.
1 cup rum
1 bottle of cheap red wine (yeah, you could use the expensive stuff, but no one will be able to tell once you mix it with the rest of this)
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
Stir all liquid ingredients together with the sugar, thoroughly. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a sugar sludge at the bottom of your jug (ew). Slice the fruit and add it to the jug of sangria. Sit down on a rickety lawn chair with a good friend (or by yourself – no judgement here), in the shade, swat the flies, and chat. Drink the whole thing, and then watch the sun set. You won’t mind the heat at all ….