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50/50: Staying healthy and having summer fun, too

Max's Famous Rhubarb Slush

It’s summer! Time for frozen pizzas, ice cream sundaes, margaritas and Zorbaz nachoz. But what happens to that summer fun if you want to stay healthy? Is it possible to have your gluten-free cake AND eat it, too?

I’m not interested in deprivation or denial. I want to eat and drink what I feel like eating and drinking. For a while there in the beginning of the year, I just didn’t eat a lot of things because I couldn’t figure out how I could tweak and transform standard fare into a healthier version of itself. But that’s no fun.

For the record, Zorbaz has a great gluten-free pizza, and I’ve gotten some good results with a couple of recipes, so I thought I’d share them with you.

As often as possible I try to decrease the sugar dose, and I think that may be as good as I can get where sugar is concerned. But I’ve found since I don’t eat any refined sugar, and keep carb intake down, it’s reduced my sweet-tooth cravings.

I’m obsessed with this first drink, the Rhubarb Slush. Learning to make a good one was on my Summer 2014 Bucket List, so I’ve effectively now crossed it off my list.

It hails from my friend Maxine. My other friend, Heidi, picked up the recipe and ran with it, and we had a regular rhubarb slush lovefest, fine-tuning until we came up with this quasi-healthy beauty.

I would also like to point out that I did NOT eliminate alcohol from my diet – I enjoy an occasional glass of wine, and the vodka that is in this recipe. I saw some cherry vodka at Bernie’s the other day and think that might be worth a try in this recipe.

The second recipe is an amazing ice “cream” recipe that comes from my culinarily gifted daughter. Kari doesn’t do dairy so adapts most recipes to be dairy-free. She made this up one wintry day, and it never fails to make any day better.

Living a healthy lifestyle needs to allow for flexibility and be something you can continue permanently, or I just don’t think it will stick.

That’s why I’m concentrating more on making these permanent changes that aren’t based on what we CAN’T eat, but more on how we can join in the food fun without hurting our health.

Max’s Famous Rhubarb Slush 3 cups fresh rhubarb

½ cup Sugar in the Raw (or organic cane sugar – you could try experimenting with stevia or honey or agave, I suppose – let me know how it works out for you)

2 cups fresh strawberries, stemmed and cut up

1½ cups vodka

1 can ginger ale

club soda

Put the rhubarb and sugar in a medium saucepan and boil until rhubarb gets soft. It only takes a few minutes, so you may want to stand there and just stir it. Take it off the stove and add the strawberries, vodka and ginger ale.

Let it cool down for a while, Then put half in a blender and mix until smooth. I actually like it kind of chunky.

Pour into a glass storage container, zip-top baggie or Tupperware. Pour the other half into the blender and mix it, and add to the storage container. Freeze until solid.

When ready, pour some club soda about halfway up your glass, then scoop the frozen rhubarb/vodka mixture and start stirring until it all blends into a slushy batch of heavenly goodness.

Kari’s Delicious Ice ‘Cream’

¾ cup organic sugar

1 can lite coconut milk (be sure to get milk and not water)

2 cups almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch salt

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and pour into an electric ice cream maker and follow instructions.

We love topping this with banana chunks, chopped walnuts and organic chocolate syrup or cacao nibs. The texture is smooth and mimics real ice cream perfectly.