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Friday, July 29, 2011

Paletas (Mexican Popsicles)

Teaching is a hard job. It's a combination of salesmanship, acting, and having information worth sharing. Imagine doing five or six stand-up acts at day, fifty minutes at a time, to a skeptical, jaded audience that would rather be texting,  talking, or tweeting.  If a teacher runs a special program or sponsors a club, add fundraiser to their job description.

One of the most successful fundraisers my AVID students ever had was selling paletas, Mexican ice and milk pops in flavors like, fresas (strawberry), coco (coconut), nuez (pecan), even cucumber. Some are fruit based and others use milk. We sold them at lunch, often a hundred a day, which was a pretty good moneymaker. Unfortunately, The Governator decreed that kids should eat healthier at school and the ingredients in those paletas didn't fit the bill, being manufactured with more fat and sugar than is allowed in schools.

I've missed paletas since we moved to New Mexico, far from cities with a significant Mexican population. If you see a paleteria in your town, stop in to buy one. You will realize how lucky you are. Just don't eat one a day unless you're training for a marathon or something like that.

I decided to make my own paletas here at the ranch because, well, why the heck not? It's summer and I had to try out my new gadget, The Zoku Ice Pop Maker.

The Zoku freezes ice cream bars or popsicles in 7-9 minutes. How's that for instant gratification? You refrigerate the Zoku maker for 24 hours before making popsicles or ice cream bars. Make your favorite recipe, pour it in around the sticks and before you can check the Farmville farm, they're ready. This would be excellent for moms or grandmoms to have in their kitchens and if you are like Grandma Trudy, you can ask each kid what flavor they would like and make it on the spot.

Today I made banana paletas. I think I'll eat mine on the veranda this afternoon whilst watching the rain.

The paletas I made have a simple cast of ingredients. I used half almond milk and half half and half. That reads pretty weird, doesn't it? But it makes sense. For sweetener I used agave syrup. A little vanilla and mashed bananas and that's all there is to it. These are great because there's not too much sugar or fat, mostly fruit and milk.

 Banana Paletas

2 medium bananas, mashed
1 c milk, almond milk, soy milk, yogurt, or other milk product combination
1 t vanilla extract
1T agave nectar, or the equivalent in sugar, corn syrup, or other sweetener.

Mash the bananas. Add milk, vanilla, and agave. Mix well and pour into popsicle molds. Freeze until firm. You don't need a Zoku to make these, but it sure is faster.

Makes 6 pops

Banana Paletas

Happy summer eating! Today I'm off to the Mora Farmers' Market to see what's up.

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