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Last summer I took my kids to their very first circus. My daughter was in awe of all the acrobatics, my son went wild for the animals, and we all went crazy for the food. We ate so much, it was a big treat and, since that day, we have vowed to make our favorites with a healthy twist while keeping those addicting flavors.
The video for Dumbo’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Popcorn Balls recipe was a big inspiration since it showed us how to make a fun circus- and Disney-inspired treat at home — and reminded us that treats can be healthy too! Check it out:
Our first attempt at making our own healthy treats was the amazing snow cone. We bought a simple machine which came with electric colored flavors filled that went right down the drain and sent us running to the organic fruit section. I let the kids choose the flavors of fruit and we set out to make our own real fruit snow cones. To bring us back to the circus we ate our snow cones while watching the lovable Dumbo do his amazing flying elephant trick.
This recipe is made with real fruit and cooked to enhance the natural sugars with only limited sweeteners added. It’s not only more flavorful than the store bought version, it’s also healthier and fits the standards of the Mickey Check.
Real Fruit Syrup Snow Cones
Strawberry 2 cups washed, sliced berries, 3 Tablespoons agave. Heat over medium low until rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute. Using a potato masher, mash the strawberries. Remove from heat to cool for a few minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Allow syrup to cool then place in airtight container in fridge for up to two weeks.
Watermelon 1 large watermelon. Use a melon baller to create balls for kids snack and lunches, leaving 1 inch flesh still in the melon. Place the balls into a large storage container. Using a melon baller will create a lot of juice. Save it and place into a pan. Now scrape the remaining flesh out of the rind and pour into the pan. Also, if there is any juice in the container with the balls of melon pour that into the pan as well. You should have at least 4 cups of juice and leftover flesh. Heat over medium low in a pan until boiling, reduce to simmer. Continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Using a potato masher, mash the flesh to remove any liquid. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and pour back into the pan. Turn the heat to low and allow to just barely simmer for a couple of hours until liquid has reduced to about a cup. It will still be thin, but taste so good. Allow syrup to cool then place in airtight container in fridge for up to two weeks.
Blueberry 2 cups frozen, organic blueberries. Place into pan with 1 tablespoon of agave nectar and 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. Heat over medium low, stirring occasionally until it begins to bubble. Mash with a potato masher to release all the juices. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Allow syrup to cool then place in airtight container in fridge for up to two weeks.
Cherry I used 2 cups of frozen, pitted, organic cherries. Place in a pan with 1 tablespoon agave nectar. Heat over medium low until cherries thaw, then mash with a potato masher. Heat until simmering and simmer for 5 minutes. Mash again, then strain. Allow syrup to cool then place in airtight container in fridge for up to two weeks.
Grape 2 cups fresh grapes. Place into pan and heat over medium low and mash grapes with a potato masher. Heat to a low simmer for 5 minutes. Mash again and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Allow syrup to cool then place in airtight container in fridge for up to two weeks.
Lemon/Lime ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, 1/8 cup fresh lime juice, 4 Tablespoons of agave syrup, 1 cup water. Combine ingredients in a pan and heat to a boil, reduce to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat to cool. Allow syrup to cool then place in airtight container in fridge for up to two weeks.
Using a snow cone maker or blender, crush ice. Place 1 ½ cups of shaved ice into a cup. Pour 4-5 tablespoons of syrup in any combination over the ice and serve.
For the full recipe for Peanut Butter and Jelly Popcorn Balls, visit Spoonful!