We are certainly blessed to live in the beautiful Northwest, in August anyway. During the cold, gray days of winter, I dream about August and its predictably great weather. Sometimes the dream is enough to get me through and, other times, a trip to find some warm sun is required.

I grew up in northern Minnesota. We had great summers there as well. We also enjoyed mosquitos, lots of them. The standing joke is that the mosquito is the Minnesota state bird! Many locals would complain about the humidity, mainly because if you weren’t complaining about the mosquitos, then what else is there to complain about?

In Washington, we can count the lack of mosquitos and low humidity among our blessings. Our primary hardships during the summer are drought, surprisingly, and pokes from picking blackberries. Although, many of us still grumble once or twice about how “unbearably” hot it is and the occasional sunburn.

My mom always had a fresh batch of homemade popsicles ready for the neighborhood kids to cool us off on hot, summer days. She used fresh berries and wholesome ingredients. I did the same for my kids and their friends. I still have my mom’s vintage Tupperware popsicle kit (#sentimental) and am saving it for when my daughters have children. I can’t wait to see them sticking out their fruit-stained tongues to compare colors, laughing and giggling.

Popsicles do not need to be filled with sugar or artificial colors and flavors. These additives wreak havoc on your brain, nervous system, and metabolism. Instead, you can make fantastic summer treats for your family using the best berries, fruit, and even veggies that our region has to offer.

Check out this video recipe for Strawberry-Kiwi Popsicles. They have simply a few ingredients and are quick to make. If you don’t have popsicle molds, you can use a silicone ice cube tray or paper cups.

There are endless options when it comes to flavors. Don’t be afraid to include some fresh herbs like lavender, basil, or mint. Freeze chia pudding for a protein-packed treat. Fresh vegetable juices or frozen smoothies are also great options. I am not ashamed to admit that I have even frozen my Morning Green Drink to keep up my vegetable consumption while staying cool.

You can also get creative in your presentation by including whole pieces of fruit or layering different colors that result in your own modern version of a bomb pop. The only limit is your imagination, and willingness to experiment with colors and flavors.

Summer treats do not need to be loaded with sugar and artificial nonsense. They can be fun, beautiful, and healthy - A treat everyone wants to eat. To give you some extra inspiration, I have put together a collection of recipes: “Healthy Summer Treats to Beat the Heat.” You can download it for free here.

Cheers to summer and beating the heat with some cool treats!