a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Little Prep Goes a Long Way Towards Cool, Refreshing Summer Drinks . . .

Ready to Enjoy in about a Minute!

It is 4:00 in the afternoon and 
our thermometer currently
registers 114 degrees!

lowering sun shining
(same as yesterday--same forecast for tomorrow) 

And the thermometer isn't in the direct sun!!

It doesn't take much time to chop fresh fruits and stock the freezer.  Whenever beverage-friendly produce is on sale I buy a lot. This week it was 30 pounds of bananas at 39 cents per pound ---  $12.00. The regular price of bananas range from 53 to 69 cents per pound, depending on the store.

We use frozen bananas as the base for the majority of our smoothies and icy drinks.

I know many people freeze bananas whole and break them up when it is time to use them.  I don't want my hands or our blender to work that hard! We do it simply by . . .


  • quart-size zip lock freezer bags
  • one wide mouth container to hold the bags upright if desired. (I like to fold the edges of the bags down, so the area to be sealed doesn't get banana goop on it.)
  • one damp washcloth to wash said goop from hands, as needed.
  • one knife
I thinly slice 2 bananas into each bag. After doing several bags, I wipe off my hands, and one at a time, lay each bag flat on the table, seal it about 3/4th of the way closed, and using the flat of my hand, smoosh the bananas. This spreads the bananas throughout the bag and pushes out the extra air at the same time.  I seal it the rest of the way. Stack the flattened bags and freeze them. 

To use, I bend the unopened bag back and forth to loosen the frozen bananas and break off the amount I need. When I am making drinks for the two of us I usually use the entire bag.

I also reuse the bags --- over and over and over. I thoroughly rinse them out, drape them over a faucet to dry, fold them and store them in an empty cardboard tissue box in a drawer.

mix 2.gif
Currently our favorite cool-off drink is simply one package of the frozen bananas and some frozen cantaloupe cubes blended with apple juice to achieve the consistency you like. 

I use different juices and different fruits and berries for   variety. Sometimes, canned pineapple. Sometimes orange juice.  Occasionally, unflavored sparkling water. You are limited only by your likes and your imagination! 

If you want more ideas, check under beverages in the recipe list on the right hand column of this blog.


You can freeze lemon slices and add a few to a pitcher of cold water.  Fresh (not frozen) cucumber slices, added to cold water also makes a refreshing drink. Both are 100 percent calorie free.

I buy frozen raspberry pieces in 10 pound blocks, defrost slightly so I can  divide the block into portion-sizes and freeze them in the zip-lock bags.

Grapes are a delicious snack to eat frozen---or to garnish a slushy fruit drink. Simple wash and stem them and spread them on a cookie sheet and freeze. This keeps them separated after you bag them. 


We don't have an ice maker and I hate to bother with ice cube trays so I do the same with pebble ice. Pebble ice is what butchers use in their fresh meat displays. In our local store the pebble ice machine is actually located in the butcher department. Years ago, when I would ask to buy a plastic grocery bag full they would just give it to me. Now I buy it in the freezer section, right next to the other bagged ice.

I buy a large bag, divide it as above and freeze those bags. They are perfect!  Grab the portion-sized bag, bang it on the counter once or twice and the ice is back to its pebble form. (Even when I have left the large bag in the freezer for weeks before dividing it, it still easily breaks into pebbles. Not so with crushed ice.)


I am Simply, Gail and I hope you find my postings helpful.


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