Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Goji Berry Ice Pops and My "Captain Cooked" Giveaway Winner!

I must confess, I am in a bit of a cooking, blogging funk the past couple of weeks so please pardon my lack of frequent posting. I have been living on the leftovers of the few things I have cooked, and otherwise it has been a rotation of popcorn, green salads, watermelon, organic pluots from the co-op, and pieces of pan-toasted millet bread with yellow tomato slices and Hawaiian salt--easy and good but nothing too interesting to blog about! I think it's a combination of the humid weather, being busy with work and school and whatever little mood I have gotten myself into. I am sure I'll snap out of it soon. ;-)

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the ice pops. I have been eating lots of ice pops, mainly from my friends at OnoPops who keep making so many darn delicious, creative flavors of paletas with all local ingredients, that it is impossible for me to not stop by the booth and see what's new. This last weekend it was Watermelon-Hibiscus (I now know exactly what to do with all the dried hibiscus I still have in my pantry), Star Fruit-Lemon Grass, and Mountain Apple-Rose, plus I *needed* to throw in a Mexican Chocolate too. Yum! So probably the last thing I needed was more ice pops, but when I saw a recipe for Goji Berry Pops in a great little raw cookbook I bought, "Alive in 5: Raw Gourmet Meals in Five Minutes" by Angela Elliot, I had to try them.

Considered to be one of the most nutritionally packed fruits, goji berries (also known as wolfberry), are chock full of amino acids (19), carotenoids, Vitamins C (more than oranges) B & E, and 21 different trace minerals. Traditionally they are considered to be a food that promotes longevity and strength and boosts the immune system function. They are fairly tart--kind of a cross between a cranberry and sour cherry and I happened to buy a big bag of them from Chinatown and was in need of using some of them up. For the ice pops, the goji berries are soaked overnight in filtered water then dumped in the blender with some fresh-squeezed orange juice (and in my case, a Tablespoon of local honey--what can I say--I like sweet-tart more than just tart.), and then they are frozen in popsicle molds.

Elliot says, "Goji berries are so nutritious, it's impossible to eat too many of them."

Goji Berry Ice Pops
From "Alive in 5"
Makes 6 or more pops)

1 cup goji berries
2 cups filtered water
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Place the goji berries in a bowl, and cover them with the water. Let soak in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours. Place the goji berries and their soak water in a blender. Add the orange juice, and process until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Note: The trick to making these lovely pops quickly is to always have goji berries soaking in water in your refrigerator.

Notes/Results: Different but pretty good--they grow on you. My first bite I wasn't that thrilled about, but as I ate more, I liked them better and even found them kind of oddly addicting. They have sort of a tart-fruity-earthy taste to them, if that makes any sense. With all the vitamin C and other nutrients in them, they are a good-for-you snack and a good way to cool down on a humid day. I would make them again, but I might try mixing them with another dried, soaked fruit for a taste variation. Fun to try, but OnoPops can rest easy that they won't have any competition from me!

And now what you were probably really reading this blog for... The winners of my "Captain Cooked"--Hawaii-based foodie mystery giveaway. I got to choose two lucky winners who will each receive a copy of the book, signed by author S.P. Grogan, plus a few fun mystery ingredients to help them cook from it. (I like saying mystery ingredients, plus I still have to get them together but I'll let you know what goes in the packages.)

So I put in all the entries (up to 3 per person depending on how many entries they did) and shook them up in a little steamer basket and (drumroll please)....drew two little slips of paper out of the basket.

And the winner was...

girlichef and...girlichef! OK, I don't know what kind of weird voodoo, mojo, funky vibes that Heather was putting into the air for this drawing but I need me some of that because I drew her name TWICE! Too funny! I really did shake the basket with the lid on and everything!

Since Heather can only read one copy, I shook the basket again, reached in and this time drew...Kim from Liv Life!

So our two lucky winners are girlichef whose setting for her foodie mystery seems well-planned. She said, "Um, do you know that I toss the idea of where my culinary mystery would be located. Often. Since I do plan on writing one someday, I'd probably set it in Michigan... having grown up there and all, I know the "feeling". The people, the land, the secrets and mysteries, the nooks and crannies!!! Or else Nothern Indiana...perhaps it'd cross over since they're border states. OOOOOHHHH!! So excited ;)"

And Kim from Liv Life who said, "For my foodie mystery I'd love to be in the South Pacific with all the fresh fruits, fish and coconut... amongst the swaying palms of course...!"

Congratulations ladies! Please email me with your shipping addresses and I'll get your packages out to you ASAP. I expect to see some fun cooking going on after you read the book! ;-)

Thanks to everyone who entered--I really had fun reading all your comments about your foodie mystery settings! I promise to read all your books!



  1. I understand not feeling inspired. I almost feel like all of this fresh produce has me wanting to sit around and eat it raw. And not adulterate it. I don't know. Weird.

    I've actually never had goji berries before! But they are supposedly a superfood. so does that make these superpops?

  2. I have been feeling the exact same way and have gotten some feedback from other food bloggers confirming they are in the same boat. :) Sometimes slowing down and taking a break is the best medicine. It has been that way in my kitchen for about a week now, all simple and repeats. Congrats to the winners!

  3. Congrats to girli and Kim! These are some really cool pops Deb! By looking at the ingredients they seem perfectly healthy and not likely to induce any kind of guilt when eating them :) I don't know if I've tried goji berries before but I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for them.

    P.S. I'm suffering from blog burn out too. I'm sure you'll be back in the groove before long.

  4. Raise the roof...wooot wooot So excited! What, you can't see me sitting there with a book in each hand....reading them both at the same time...pshaw. LOL! Thanks so much, Deb (and juju), I cannot wait to read it and receive mystery goodies ;)

    I wouldn't know what to do with a Goji Berry if it hit me in the face, so I think you did a fabulous job! They sound intriguing. And now I know what I want to do with some of my hibiscus, too! =)

  5. Congrats to the winners!

    I am loving the pops, I like tart and we can get goji berries at the bulk barn - (you don't want to know the price! One of the joys of shopping in Canada)
    What a great idea to soak and purée them - opens up whole new worlds.

  6. interesting with the goji berries! congrats to the winners :)

  7. I love goji berries and would love to try those ice pops - I would totally be addicted to those!

  8. Hmmm. I've had goji berries in trail mix and muesli and thus far I am totally underwhelmed. I am hearing you on the funk though.

  9. Woo Hoo!!! Can't tell you how excited I am (and excited that Girlichef can't read two books at the same time!) I've actually had really bad book luck this summer and haven't had a good read in months. With the kids going back to school, my husband going out of town (he's actually headed to Honolulu!) and warm days in front of me, I plan to sit out on the patio with my feet up, puppies on my lap and book in my hand. Thanks Deb!!

  10. Wow....that's a really creative way to use goji berries! Sounds really good.

  11. That's so strange about girlichef! I've only had goji berries in a fruit smoothie with other berries so I don't really know what they taste like on their own. They look refreshing.

    I hope you get your mojo back soon. Sometimes taking a step back can help - we all need a break now and then.

  12. oh, that is so amazing :) and look so cool

  13. I love ice-cream and if it is made up of Goji then it would be wonderful for me. Thanks for recipe.

  14. I'm crazy about icecream and it would be a new experience to made it from goji berry as it is energy booster. Thanks a lot for such a nice recipe.


Mahalo for visiting and for leaving a comment. I love reading them and they mean a lot!

All advertising, spam, inappropriate (or just plain rude) comments will be promptly deleted. I do appreciate your right to free speech and to your opinion but I'm not into mean, rude, or mean snarky (non-mean snarky is just fine!) ;-)