A Squared: 4th of July Weekend Recap and Red, White, & Blue Fruit Pops

Monday, July 8, 2013

4th of July Weekend Recap and Red, White, & Blue Fruit Pops

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope that most of you enjoyed a blissful 4 days away from the office and that those of you (like me) that were at work on Friday enjoyed a day of peace, quiet, and productivity. Followed by a fun weekend, of course.

Summer showed up just in time and we had great weather here in Chicago for the 4th of July. Alex and I hosted a little barbecue for our friends that stayed in town and then we headed down to the lakefront to watch the fireworks show.

Since we were hosting and have a grill out on our deck, we decided to prepare the meat and desserts for our dinner and asked our friends to bring appetizers, sides, and (of course) drinks.

Food & friends on the Fourth

My husband has proven himself to be quite the grillmaster lately, which is great news since I don't even know how to turn the thing on. He also loves ribs-- and I don't-- so we never make them because how can you really grill ribs for one? So, we jumped on the chance to grill (not one, but two racks of) ribs for our guests. And some barbecued chicken breasts for the non-rib eaters like yours truly. Alex did an awesome job and everyone raved about the ribs. We rubbed them with the Brisket of Love BBQ rub from the Spice House, let them sit for a few hours, then grilled them low and slow over indirect heat for 2 hours.

Grillmaster Alex hard at work

I handled the treats and made two delicious summer no bake desserts that were both huge hits at our barbecue. The first is a mashup of two traditional summertime desserts: s'mores and rice krispie treats. I'll be sharing that recipe with you later this week. The second was my first go at homemade popsicles-- festive red, white, and blue ones that are actually pretty good for you too! They're a combo of real fruit and nonfat Greek yogurt and I'm sharing that recipe with you below.

It was a wonderful relaxed 4th of July-- and great to spend the holiday with my love Alex again for the 7th time too.

The rest of the weekend was equally fun and relaxing with a little brunch and catchup session poolside with my good friend Minnesota Liz....

... and an al fresco Mexican dinner at Zocalo, one of our favorite neighborhood spots. More to come on Zocalo in a future restaurant review post...

 ... and finally, an afternoon in Oak Park (a first visit for us) checking out Frank Lloyd Wright's work in all its Prairie Style glory. Look out for a future City Walk post for more on that!

FLW's Unity Temple in Oak Park, IL

Red, White, & Blue Fruit Pops

  • 8 oz. fresh blueberries
  • 6 oz. fresh raspberries
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar, divided
  • 12 oz. fat free vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1 tsp. real vanilla extract
Makes 6 pops.

Combine blueberries and 1 Tbs. sugar in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Continue to cook for about 15 minutes and stir frequently until the mixture becomes syrupy and some of the berries have burst. You can cook it longer if you prefer a smoother pop, but I like to have a few intact berries dotted throughout. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, in a food processor or mini chopper, puree raspberries and remaining sugar until combined and smooth. Carefully spoon raspberry mixture into the bottom of each pop mold. Freeze for 10-15 minutes until slushy, but not completely frozen.

In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, milk, honey, and vanilla until smooth and combined. Gently pour the yogurt mixture on top of the raspberry puree in each mold. Fill to about 2/3 full and freeze for another 10-15 minutes until slushy, but not completely frozen again.

Once blueberry mixture is cooled, pour into molds on top of the yogurt layer and fill to the tops of each mold. Insert sticks and carefully snap into place (if that is how your molds work).

Freeze until solid-- overnight, if possible. Remove, run under warm water, and pull off molds just before serving.

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