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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Frosty Food Furnishes Family Fun

Mmmmmm!  Mango!

Last weekend we visited our best friends from college days.  They live in a town that is only about a four hour drive from our home, but we don't see them as much as we would like.  When our two boys and their three children were younger, we vacationed together every few years and have some great stories and running gags from those trips.  All it takes to get the entire crowd laughing is for someone to say "minner cheese," an inside joke from a long-ago trip to Hot Springs. Since all the children are grown and our friends' children have little ones of their own, we were past due for a get together.

A Chef in the Making
The girls have followed the blog and when the granddaughter visiting from Chicago requested a lesson in paleta making, I was thrilled!  Evelyn is quite the precocious four-year-old and she eagerly made the trip to the market to choose flavors and find the best fruit available.  At the check stand, she twirled on my fingers and we danced while the groceries were bagged, anticipating the fun!  Back at the house she juiced lemons, pulverized the fruit, added the sugar, and did the critical taste testing required for proper paleta preparations.   We rushed to get the desserts in the freezer by noon so everyone would have frosty treats for the evening's dessert.  When we were finished, every surface of the kitchen was sticky, but we had, with the help of the little one's mother and grandmother, prepared 42 paletas in sweet, pink watermelon, mouth-watering mango, scrumptious strawberry banana, tangy orange-lime, and enticing vanilla-soaked cherries in chocolate almond milk.

What a celebration we had that night with 16 and two more on the way! And even though we call them friends, the term chosen family is a better fit.  When generations come together to play, laugh and learn from each other, paletas are a tasty treat, but extraneous for joy abounding.  The pleasure is in the work of furthering relationships and sharing passions with the next generation.  I recommend bringing children into the kitchen.  It's a recipe for discovering fun!

Sweet Watermelon Paleta
Delish Dessert
Healthy Treat for a Growing Boy

Mango Lime Recipe
Enjoying the Fruits of Her Labor     
2 1/2 cups fresh peeled mango, cut in 1 inch chunks  
1 lime, zest and juice
1/4 cup sugar or to taste
2 t fresh ginger grated or 1 t ground ginger

Combine mango chunks, the zest and juice of 1 lime, sugar and ginger in blender or Cuisinart and pulse until smooth. Divide evenly into molds. Add sticks and freeze 4-6 hours.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fruitful Life

Ingredients for Paleta de Frutero 
Throughout my adult life, I have strived to be fruitful.  In my chosen vocation as an educator, I was certain not to gain monetary reward, but in forging relationships and caring for my student's intellectual and emotional well-being, I gained infinite compensation.  A teacher's calling is to be purposeful, fruitful in her own life, but true joy comes in observing the fruit produced in the lives of her students.  Through the World Wide Web, I have been fortunate to reconnect with 90 students I taught 27 years ago.  I knew them as adorable fifth graders, in the last year of true childhood.  It has been a beautiful experience to spend time with "my children" who are now adults.  They invite me into their lives, expand my world and I'm privileged to observe the fruitfulness they have gained with maturity.

As I prepared the ingredients for the fruit bowl paletas, thoughts of my "formers" passed through my mind:  the one who has made me a family member, the one who has worked with hurting people all over the world, the one whose life has been redeemed despite regrettable choices in earlier years, the one who is a loving and patient mother, the one who is the most thoughtful and solicitous person I've ever known, the one who rescues people in danger, the ones who have visited my home or invited me into theirs, called, sent messages, gifts and flowers, and the one who is now, to my total delight, developing young hearts and minds as a fifth grade teacher!

If my life were finished today, I would have experienced fruitfulness nurtured, grown and multiplied many times over.  These fruit bowl paletas are a delectable dessert, but thoughts of the fruit of my formers is sweeter still.

Pack Fruit Snugly in Molds

Fruit Bowl Paletas Recipe
adapted from Everyday Food Magazine

3/4 cup hulled strawberries, halved
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1/2 cup blueberries
1/4 cup Rainier cherries
1 mango, peeled and sliced
2 cups 100% white grape juice
1 T lemon juice
Arrange some of each fruit in popsicle molds, fitting pieces tightly.  Mix lemon juice with white grape juice.  Pour enough juice to cover fruit, freeze 45 minutes, insert sticks, freeze 4-6 hours more.  Any preferred fruit can be substituted in this recipe.
Fresa, Kiwi, Cerezas, Arándanos, Mango con Jugo de Uva Blanca

Paleta de Frutero