Over the course of my life, I have moved and lived all over the country. I spent years in the golden expanse of the great plains, on the shimmering central California coast, and even four years in paradise and perpetual summer on Oahu, but nowhere has ever come close to the majesty of my home, Alaska.
My husband has also been a continual wanderer in his life, moving from place to place and life to life many times, but he always found himself back home in the end. He looks back on his childhood here in Nikiski with rosy nostalgia, filled with memories of epic voyages on the lake and rugged adventures in the mountains, and so, for the sake of our children, we agreed to move here and claim this place as our forever home.
The big drawback was having to give up living so close to our siblings and their children. Our son rarely gets to play with other kids, so when the cousins visit, it is an exciting treat indeed. These joyful visits will be some of the earliest memories our children will have, so we do what we can to make them special. We ended our day yesterday with some homemade Popsicles out on the porch, and I will never forget the sight of their sticky smiles in the evening light.
Popsicles are easy as can be and can even be a great way to sneak in some nutrition if you’ve got picky eaters. I flavored ours with some of last year’s cherries that were still in the freezer, but the variations are endless.
2 cups plain, whole fat Greek yogurt
2 cups frozen cherries
1 big tablespoon of honey (local is best)
Popsicle sticks and mold
Put your cherries into a heavy bottomed saucepan and fill with water until the cherries are submerged. Boil until the liquid has reduced to less than one cup and set aside to cool completely.
Mix the honey into the yogurt until it is evenly blended.
Prepare your Popsicle mold. If you don’t have a mold, you can use small paper cups.
Spoon your yogurt mixture into the molds and fill almost up to the top, leaving about half an inch.
Mash your cooled cherries, or, if they are pitted, you can puree them, and strain through a fine-mesh strainer.
Carefully pour the fruit onto the yogurt to the top of the mold.
Use a skewer or, like I did, a chopstick to push the fruit puree down into the yogurt until you can see streaks of color on the sides.
Insert the Popsicle sticks and freeze until solid, at least two hours.
If you are using paper cups, a trick to keep the Popsicle sticks straight and centered while freezing is to cover each cup with plastic wrap, secure with a rubber band, and poke the stick down through the plastic into the cup. Just make sure to get any small pieces of plastic off before you serve.
After my lifetime of wandering, it feels right to set the roots of our family down here so we can provide our children these early memories of summer days surrounded by loving family, the glorious Alaska sunshine that lasts long after bedtime, and the occasional sweet treat.
Tressa Dale is a U.S. Navy veteran and culinary and pastry school graduate from Anchorage. She currently lives in Nikiski with her husband, 1-year-old son and two black cats.