Tag Archives: organic

Chill Out!

3 Jun

If we were making a What’s Hot, What’s Not chart, gourmet cupcakes would probably land on the not hot side. It’s true, the cupcake obsession has become so overblown that people are flat-out tired of hearing about them (though we doubt anyone is tired of eating them). And if you’re thinking of starting a cupcake bakery, you’re going to have to fight off a lot of frosting-gun weilding competitors.

Photo: Lissa Gotwals

What’s hot in the world of gourmet snacks is actually quite cold: ice pops! Just as the fancy-shmancy cupcake craze turned a basic home-baked goody into a 5-star tastebud affair, ice pop entreprenuers are taking flavored ice to a whole new level.

Perhaps the most famous pop-shop in the country, Las Paletas in Nashville, TN is named after the gourmet pop’s origin. Paletas–derived from the Spanish word palo, which means stick–have been a staple of Mexican childhood for decades. Immigrants brought them to the States, where paletas are sold as street food in Latin American communities. While the pops are traditionally made with fresh fruit, gourmet shops are adding ingredients you probably wouldn’t imagine on a stick: avocado, hibiscus, rhubarb, basil, and my personal favorite: tequila. We hope someone opens an ice pop bar, where all cocktails are served frozen on a stick. (Word is, Bar Ninteen12 serves up a mean martini popsicle.)

In honor of sticky-fingered summer days, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best gourmet ice pop makers in the country. And in case there isn’t a pop-monger near you, we’ve rangled up a few recipes for cocktail popsicle treats.

Las Paletas

Las Paletas has been featured on The Food Network multiple times, even playing host to Bobby Flay’s Throwdown (the Paz sisters took Flay down with their Pineapple-Chile concoction). This place is so famous it apparently doesn’t need a website, but you can find them in Nashville, TN.


People’s Pops

At several market locations in New York City, People’s pushes pops in flavors like Apricot-Caramel, Spiced Pear, Blueberry Chai and Rhubarb-Hibiscus. Each is handmade using local, sustainably-grown, organic ingredients.



Summer Bicknell left her corporate job to launch Locopops, based in eastern North Carolina, in 2005. She didn’t just jump in blind. Bicknell actually spent three months apprenticing at a paleteria in Michoacan, Mexico (folklore has it that the first paleta was created in Michaocan). Flavors past and present include Mexican Chocolate, Mango Chile, and White Chocolate Sesame.

Pleasant Pops

College friends Brian and Roger brought gourmet paletas to Washington DC in 2010, where you can get ’em from a truck, a farmer’s market stand, or even on campus at George Washington University. Pleasant Pops ingredeints come from local farmers, and they offer more than 40 flavors including Thai Coconut Curry Cream, Blueberry Pancake, Guac Pop (Avocado Lime), and Watermelon Black Pepper.

Your fave ice pop maker didn’t make the list? Let me know and I’ll add ’em!

Photo: People's Pops

Mojito Pops

2 ounces Bacardi Light Rum           
3 ounces fresh lime juice                       
3 ounces simple syrup          
2.5 cups lemon lime soda              
12 fresh mint leaves                         
3 cups ice cubes                         

Combine ingredients into blender with ice.  Puree until mixture is smooth and slushy. Pour into 6 popsicle molds, add popsicle sticks and freeze for 8 hours.

Cucumber, Elderflower & Tequila

(courtesy People’s Pops & WSJ)

3 medium cucumbers
3 ounces elderflower syrup
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Approx. 1 ounce tequila

Wash and peel cucumbers, then puree them. Transfer puree to a container with a pouring spout and add the elderflower syrup and lemon juice. Next, add the tequila to taste. Be careful not to add too much tequila as it will prevent freezing. Pour the mixture into ice pop molds, leaving a little bit of room at the top for the expansion that occurs when liquids freeze. Insert sticks and freeze 4-6 hours, until solid.


Nail Fix

22 Jan

I am having major issues with my nails at the moment. Some folks are accustomed to chronic nail problems, but I am not one of those people. My nails are usually thick, strong and healthy. I’ve received countless compliments on them.

This might sound vain, but honestly I take no credit for my nail health because I do absolutely nothing to make them compliment-worthy. Plus, I don’t exactly consider healthy nails to be a vanity-inducing quality. That is, until last month when they started peeling, breaking and causing me all sorts of anxiety. Now I’d rank attractive nails right up there with luxurious hair and straight, white teeth.

Naturally, I’ve embarked on a hunt for a fix. Just in case you are dealing with a similar nail tragedy, here are two products that might help…

Organic Soy Nail Polish Remover by Karma Organics

This lavendar-scented nail polish remover is non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, and one hundred percent biodegradable. As a dog-owner, this is important to me. My pup has been known to knock over bottles of nail polish remover and snatch remover-soaked cotton rounds from countertops and trash cans. The organic polish remover is gentle on the skin, especially the skin around your nail edges that tends to dry out in winter. Plus, it came recommended by a fabulous friend who wouldn’t steer me wrong!

Sally Hansen Nail Nutrition Green Tea & Olive Leaf Nail Growth

The strengthening properties of antioxidants and bamboo in this nail strengthener bond nail layers to prevent that horrible peeling by which I’m plagued. Plus, flexible nails are less likely to break while you’re performing tasks like typing, cooking, or just plain existing (lately my nails seem to break for no reason whatsoever). This is not an immediate fix, but if you commit to applying it several times a week, your nail structure will improve. I’ve been using it for a couple weeks and I can already see a difference!

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