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This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Dollar General for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

When I went to Dollar General to get ingredients for some summer treats, I was happy to see so much inspiration. There was a pretty big fresh section (our store is a Dollar General Market) with lots of fruit that would be great snacks on their own. But in the aisles I also found some ingredients that made my mouth water with their possibilities.

I knew I wanted to make some Thai tea Popsicles. I had been thinking about them for a while, daydreaming about the sweet spicy cold creaminess. So I picked up some Popsicle molds, black tea, and sweetened condensed milk. I thought I might make peach-green tea Popsicles and strawberry Popsicles too, so I picked up those other ingredients.
Thai Tea Popsicles
Ingredients
  • Black tea – many many bags
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Vanilla extract
  • 2 Cardamom pods
  • 1 star anise
Method
  1. Steep some super strong tea. I mean like strong. Something like 16 tea bags for 4 cups of hot water. Throw in the cinnamon, cardamom, and star anise while it steeps.
  2. After about 5 minutes remove the tea bags but let the spices stay in there for a while longer.
  3. Strain the tea through some cheesecloth in a sieve to remove the spices.
  4. Then, mix in some sweetened condensed milk until it is as creamy and sweet as you'd like (taste it). You'll use a lot more for Popsicles than you would just to drink. The sugar in the milk will keep the Popsicles softer versus being like ice cubes. Also, yum. So don't skimp. (This is a treat, not a health food.)
  5. Pour into the Popsicle molds and freeze.

 

To more easily remove the Popsicles from the molds, let them sit in a cool water bath for a minute to loosen them by slightly melting the outsides. The sticks on these particular molds kept slipping out when I tried to pull them out so I had to sort of angle them as I slid the Popsicle out. If you have a mold you like better, use that. Or use cups like my next ones.
The whole family loved these. They're cool and refreshing – a nice spiced change from fruity flavors we get a lot of. Perfect for enjoying in the yard after dinner.
The next summer treats are Peach Pie Popsicles, and these are so easy they'll blow your mind. I decided to use Dixie cups with Popsicle sticks (held in place with tin foil) instead of the other molds, and these actually worked a lot better. Once these were frozen, I just ran the cup under water for a few seconds while trying to twist the stick, and they popped right out.
Peach Pie Popsicles
Ingredients
  • Dole diced peaches in 100% juice – 4 snack cups
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla extract
Method:
  1. Blend together the peaches (juice included), a generous sprinkle of cinnamon, and a splash of vanilla extract. I used my immersion blender for easy cleanup.
  2. Pour into cups or molds, and freeze.

They taste just like peach pie or cobbler!

 

The third treat I made was a fruit and nut snack bar (like homemade Larabars). I picked up raisins, apricots, almonds, and cashews from Dollar General for these, but I ended up not using the raisins.

Larabars are one of our favorite snacks, but the cost adds up if everyone wants one. Or two. Plus, they have bigger pieces of nuts which Anneliese always picks out and leaves on the table in a little line, and I am hesitant to give them to Joey without mega-supervising because of the bigger pieces too.

So these were perfect because I could process the nuts until they were just the right size, and add flavors I knew my family would love.

Apricot Cashew Bars (Homemade Larabars)
Ingredients:
  • 5 oz. cashews
  • 4 oz. almonds
  • 10 oz. dried apricots
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • A little water
  • Shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
Method
  1. Soak the apricots in some hot water for a few hours. Just to soften them and make them juicier.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Combine cashews and almonds in the food processor and pulse until they're pretty small. Somewhere between gravel (too big) and dust (way too small).
  4. Drain the apricots and add them, along with the vanilla extract, to the food processor. Pulse, stopping frequently to push down, scrape the sides, etc. (I'm hoping that this step will be easier when I get my Vitamix.)
  5. If the mixture is too thick to come together, add 1-2 Tbsp of water while pulsing.
  6. Turn the fruit-nut mixture onto some parchment paper. If you're using coconut, dust the parchment with coconut first. Form a ball with the mixture. If using coconut, coat the outside of the ball with it.
  7. Place another piece of parchment on top and roll out to between 1/4″ and 1/2″ thickness. You may add more coconut if you'd like.
  8. Place on a cookie sheet (still on the parchment) and bake for 25 minutes.
  9. Let cool, and slice into bars. Makes 10 servings.

 

These are easy to throw in your purse, diaper bag, or lunch box. Try mixing things up by using other dried fruits and different nuts and seeds. Last night I made a fig-pecan-sesame seed version, which the kids enjoyed after their swimming lessons today.

I hope you enjoy these summer treats! Make sure to pin your favorite recipes from this post so you don't forget to make them.
And a big thanks to Dollar General for sponsoring this post, providing the ingredients, and making it possible for me to bring you this awesome content.

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