To be a kid again

Summer vacation was where it was at; endless days and hot nights, playing and eating till you could no more. Oh how I wish it were still that way. I find myself at the age of 27 having personal struggles with having to choose work over play; like should I do my laundry, and go shopping for groceries, or spend a day on the river? Oh to be a kid again…

Summer in my small town is how I like to remember my childhood. Healdsburg used to be sleepy, focused on grapes and agriculture; now it boasts restaurants, boutique shops, and downtown tasting rooms. When we were kids, we would go downtown to get ice cream at Silva’s on the corner – which is now empty, but used to be occupied by a tasting room. After ice cream, we would circle the square and surrounding areas on our bikes or roller blades (yes roller blades, we all had them, and we rode them all over town until the wheels wore thin).

As an adult, I still spend a lot of time sitting in the square people watching, but the kids aren’t the same; I know it’s a different generation, but they aren’t out riding bikes and having water fights. And I worry about that. Granted, with a now booming downtown, the traffic consists of wined-up tourists and is probably safer in the burbs rather than on the square.

When I wasn’t out riding my bikes with friends, I was having my own adventures at home. And when it was hot, and there was no ice cream shop, I ate popsicles, and lots of them!

There are few better treats on a hot day than a popsicle. Most commonly found in our freezer were Otter Pops, which I adored, because what’s better than a frozen treat of concentrated sugar and high fructose with maybe 1% actual juice that leaves your lips and tongue stained with a chemical tint of red number 5 and have clever names like Strawberry Short Kook, Alexander the Grape, and Little Orphan Orange.

When I wasn’t eating Otter Pops by the handful, I was eating homemade popsicles. They always tasted better when Mom would make them, but I remember my brother and I experimenting on our own with a variety of juices; everything from orange and cranberry juice to Kool-Aid and iced-tea. We basically took any form of liquid that we thought would taste good frozen and poured it into the plastic popsicle forms. When those were occupied, we often used ice-cube trays as vessels for our frozen treat addiction.

Now that I am an adult, and when it gets really hot, I often crave a cold beer; but I also still crave frozen treats. And now that we’re well into summer, I think it’s officially okay to eat frozen treats every night, right? There’s something about eating a popsicle that makes me forget about being an adult; acquiring sticky hands and stained shirts from the quickly melting treat.

Following a week in which I definitely felt the strife of being an adult, I thought to myself, what should I blog about this week? What will remedy this feeling of adulthood? And the answer was simple. Popsicles. Only this time, it wasn’t just about pouring juice and freezing it. I had to make popsicles the adult way. So I blended and squeezed juice from a watermelon, and even added some jalapeño juices to add another layer to the sweet treat.

There was a little bit of leftover juice, so to remind myself that I still am an adult, I made a cocktail and sat in the back yard while the popsicles hung out in the freezer.

Watermelon-jalapeño Popsicles

1/2 watermelon, cubed

1/2 lime, juiced

1 jalapeño, diced

2 TBSP Sugar

Pinch of Salt

Add watermelon to food processor and pulse until there are no chunks. Cover large bowl with cheesecloth and add watermelon liquid. Strain and squeeze all juice so there is no pulp left over. Clean food processor and add jalapeño with a small amount of watermelon juice to help liquify jalapeño. Strain and squeeze jalapeño pulp into bowl with watermelon juice. Add lime juice, sugar, and salt. Pour into popsicle forms and freeze. Yields 6-8 popsicles.


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