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Cool Treats That Won’t Chill Your Budget

Frugal Parenting (featured column)
by Rachel Keller

“Mom, it’s so hot today! May I have a Jello pop?” Popsicles are a fun, cool treat for children especially in the summer, but keeping your freezer stocked with these convenient cool treats can make quite a dent in your grocery budget. Not to mention, most frozen treats are not a healthy option for children.

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Be encouraged! You can give your children cool, yummy, and healthy frozen treats without spending much extra money or time.

You don’t need to invest in expensive equipment, but I do recommend a popsicle mold set. Many years ago, I bought a Tupperware set. Since then, I’ve had a few friends pass on their sets when their children outgrew them. I now have four sets, and in the summer, I use almost all of them. If you don’t have a popsicle mold set, you can use little paper cups or even little containers. You’ll have to remember to add popsicle sticks to the mold once it begins to firm.

Frozen Pops

Jello pops are inexpensive and easy to make. Wait for boxed gelatin to go on sale, and then stock up. (I buy on sale 4 for $1.) You can use either regular gelatin or the sugar-free variety. Mix one cup boiling water with the gelatin mixture. The package directions state to add one cup of cold water, but I add two cups and get about 12 popsicles from the mixture.

To make pudding pops, mix the pudding according to package directions. I use powdered milk, and you can add a little extra milk, as well. Put the pudding in the molds before it thickens. To make it fun, try adding mini chocolate chips to the pudding.

Use your imagination when making frozen popsicles. I have a baby who loves frozen bananas. Instead of throwing out overripe bananas, save them for baking or better yet, freeze them in one of those popsicle molds. I even crush strawberries and freeze them. Those taste so good and the frozen fruit pops are a soothing comfort to teething infants.

You can freeze more than just bananas and strawberries. Try applesauce, syrup from canned fruit, yogurt mixed with homemade jelly or jam, etc. You can even freeze yogurt, with or without fruit or jam, in those small, snack sized zipper bags. Cut a small opening in one end and eat on the go.

Frozen Fruit

Pick fresh strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, grapes, etc. After washing, place on a single layer on a cookie sheet. (Line pans with wax paper, parchment paper or liners from boxed cereal to make easier removal of fruit.) After the fruit is frozen, place in airtight containers or freezer bags. Eaten frozen, these are so yummy! I had gestational diabetes with my last pregnancy and didn’t eat any sweets. Frozen raspberries were my special treat!

Milk Shakes

You can make a variety of milk shakes. Try mixing milk, some ice cubes and fruit of your choice in a blender. You can add ice cream, cookie, cereal, or graham cracker crumbs. (I always save cereal, cookie, and cracker crumbs in a air-tight container to use for milk shakes or as toppings on a dessert or casserole.)

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Don’t buy those expensive ice cream sandwiches in the store. You can make your own. Even if you can’t find those chocolate ice cream wafers, try making ice cream sandwiches with cookies or graham crackers. Place a scoop of ice cream (any flavor) between round cookies or slice a half gallon ice cream into squares or rectangle slices (depending on the shape of your wafers). Make them as thick or thin as you like.

If you wish, you can sprinkle mini chocolate chips on the ice cream. Wrap in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Freeze solid. We like to prepare ice cream sandwiches a few days ahead of time to give the cookies time to soften.

Shaved Ice

I have a Pampered Chef Ice Shaver and use it to make flavored shaved ice in the summer. You don’t need to buy an ice maker. You can use a blender or food processor. Be creative and make your favorite ices using strawberries, watermelon, lemons, orange juice, or any other flavors, including instant coffee granules.

Watermelon Ice


6 c. cubed seedless watermelon
3-4 T. lemon juice
1/4- 3/4 sugar (optional)


Cut melon into 1/2-inch cubes and mash. Mixture will have small pieces of fruit in it.) Add lemon juice and sugar to watermelon and mix well. Freeze until firm. Shave with Ice Shaver or with blender.

Note: The recipe calls for 3/4 cup sugar, but I have made it with 1/4 cup and with no sugar, as well.

Cool Treats

This recipe comes from Tawra Kellam, author of the frugal cookbook Not Just Beans: 50 Years of Frugal Family Favorites.


½ cup mini-chocolate chips
2/3 cup mini-marshmallows
2 cups whipped topping
1 box of graham crackers, any flavor


In a large bowl with a wooden spoon, stir together the chocolate chips, marshmallows and whipped topping. Scoop mixture onto a graham cracker square and put another square on top. Continue making sandwiches until all of the mixture has been used. Put sandwiches into the freezer for approximately 1 ½ hours, or until frozen. Serve frozen.

We hope you enjoy all of these cool frugal treats!

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Copyright © 2004 by Rachel Keller. All rights reserved.

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