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For health and budget reasons, many parents avoid brightly colored, highly sugared popsicles from the grocery store. But kids still want a frozen treat on a hot day.
So parents are making popsicles. They know exactly what goes into homemade frozen treats, and parents can make them from pure fruits if they want. Or they can make them just as sweet and unhealthy as they want while still saving some money. Either way, here are a few tips on how to make popsicles at home.
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Making the ice
There are literally hundreds of recipes and ways to make good popsicles. One of the simplest is to pour a healthy, all-natural fruit juice into cups. For slightly more effort and even healthier popsicles, throw some fruits in a blender and pour the smoothie into popsicle molds. A relatively healthy and chocolatey alternative is frozen Ovaltine or other enriched chocolate mixture with skim milk. Another simple but delicious option is a pudding pop — literally frozen pudding. Here are dozens of good popsicle recipes.
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Making popsicle sticks
Most grocery stores sell popsicle sets, typically plastic molds with plastic sticks attached. Some models with a small plastic straw attached to the base. These allow kids to sip the drips from the popsicles. Others come in rocket shapes or other common commercial shapes.
However, parents can go one step further and make their own popsicle cups and sticks. These can be particularly cost-effective for a party where dozens of kids want popsicles. No sense in buying 10 sets of popsicle molds you will never use again.
Pour the juice or other concoction into 3-oz cups (they often come in cheap bulk quantities in the toothbrush aisle). You can also reuse empty yogurt cups or small plastic cups.
Freeze the cups and put popsicle sticks in each cup when the popsicles are slushy but not hard-frozen. Cheap popsicle sticks are available in bulk at craft stores. You can also use plastic spoons and forks, chopsticks or something else around the house. To skip a step, cover the popsicle cup with foil and pierce the stick through.
If kids lose either the cups or the sticks, you're only out a few pennies. Otherwise, the cups can be reused and wooden sticks can be recycled or composted.
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Not just for kids
Finally, grownups can spike popsicles for a unique party offering. Just mix 2 parts juice with one part liquor and follow the freezing instructions above.