Popsicles may be the "Pop" of the sweet frozen treat family, but they've got some siblings worthy of attention. Check out sister Smoothie, who falls further on the healthy, sporty side of the family line. Smoothies transition into Fall more easily than creamy popsicles do. They blend (literally) into easy breakfasts for back to school mornings and new routines. Smoothies – and cousin Sherbet – also slide into the non-dairy department easily.

Fresh fruit, or frozen? Either will work in a smoothie. For these next few weeks of juicy, freshly harvested bounty (or overflow, depending on your tendency to give in to temptation at the farmers market), go for fresh. Or freeze the fresh yourself for the days when clouds converge above and misty rains fall.

Bananas are a fruit that we give a pass on the "locally-sourced" test. We get them fresh all year round, yet never from nearby. But bananas are a mainstay of frozen fruit treats, and worth importing from tropical places. Frozen bananas are even great on their own, eaten as is or with a bit of granola, chocolate, or yogurt. Just peel bananas, wrap tightly in plastic, and freeze to have them ready to go. Frozen, they have a natural creaminess and add substance to a smoothie without adding dairy.

Here are a couple easy recipes for fruity frozen favorites.

Inspired by Mark Bittman (who, by the way, I can't wait to meet during the Feast Portland festival September 20-23; it kicks off with his Literary Arts lecture at the Schnitz September 20), here is a smoothie recipe I've adapted to use as a base for experiments with whatever fruit is at hand. 

Basic Banana-Plus Smoothie

2 cups unsweetened frozen or fresh strawberries (or other juicy fresh or frozen fruit)

1/2- 1 frozen banana

2 cups plain yogurt

1/2 cup apple or orange juice; more if needed.

Combine all ingredients in a blender and whiz until smooth. If machine is not puréeing, add a little more juice. Serve.

Yield: 2 to 4 servings (about 4 cups).

Variations, using fresh or unsweetened frozen fruit:

Mango-Blueberry Smoothie: Use 2 cups mango, 1 cup blueberries, 1 cup pomegranate or grape juice and a sprig of mint.

Orange-Peach Smoothie: Use 2 cups peaches, 1 cup orange juice, 1 cup milk and 1/2 frozen banana.

Melon-Berry Smoothie: Use 1 cup honeydew or cantaloupe; 1 cup blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries; 1 frozen banana; and 1 cup orange juice.

 

Here's another recipe for easy, year-round frozen goodness comes from Cooking Light. 

“Last minute Tropical Sherbet”

1 (12 ounce) package frozen mango chunks (about 2 ½ cups)

1 cup frozen pineapple chunks

1 (6 ounce) carton lemon low-fat yogurt

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Remove Mango and pineapple from freezer and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Combine mango, pineapple, yogurt and rind in a food processor; process until smooth. Serve immediately (for soft-serve texture) or freeze in an airtight container 1 hour and 30 minutes (for firmer texture). It will develop an icier texture if you freeze it overnight.

Serves 4 (3/4 cup each)

Calories 144, fat: 0.6g; protein 3g; carb 34.1g, chol 2mg; sodium 78mg; calc 29mg