I was never the Betty Crocker type by any means. The extent of my cooking/food making went as far as boiling water for some pasta or anything that I could pop in the microwave and on special occasions preheating oven and throwing in the already made tollhouse cookie dough that you can buy almost anywhere. I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do for this DIY project. There is a number of things that I haven’t done or that is out of my comfort zone. I don’t like taking chances and putting myself out there, because when do you that there is room to fail.
My entire life I was put into the positions of being judged. The first example of this is school, everything you do gets a grade. You are constantly being tested for perfection to get that A. Luckily, however, you have learned and practiced over and over again to the point where you know you will ace the test. The second example of this is through gymnastics. I was a competitive gymnast to the point where I was being flown all over the country for competitions and constantly under pressure to bring home medals. These routines that I was practicing and perfecting twenty-four hours a week became simple and easy. I got to the point where when I stood on the balance beam, I wasn’t even a little bit scared of falling. Sadly, this DIY project had to be something out of your comfort zone, something that wouldn’t be judged to perfection, thank god, but something that you had never done before. This project turned out to be a sticky situation.
The first process of this step was doing some research about Popsicle making. There are hundreds, literally hundreds, if not thousands, of different popsicles on the internet, cook books, and magazines. I began this project on Pinterest, searching and reading about different types. From there I visited multiple different websites including Tasty Recipes and Epicurious. These were my first couple of searches and research done: Cranberry Strawberry , margarita popsicles , and off YouTube fruit salad popsicles as well as Vegan popsicles. And lastly, I called my mother one of the ultimate best resources out there. My mother, I am guessing like pretty much all mothers, knows how to do everything, and if she doesn’t know how to do something she knows the resources on how to find the solution. There were so many different types of recipes and different ways of preparation. And after hours of research I knew that I wanted to keep my popsicles simple and delicious. You can pretty much use any type of fruit combination in a Popsicle and since I love strawberries, they had to be in there. There are multiple different bases you could use from coconut water to making your own yogurt type base. I however hate when citrus fruit is mixed with dairy products, so it was a no brainer that I was going to be making my own lemonade for my base.
I found a recipe on Pinterest that took me to a website called “sweet and savory by shine” and followed her directions. The ingredients were as follows: 1/3 cup of sugar, 6 strawberries, 1 cup of lemon juice (4 to 6 lemons) and ½ water. To make the simple syrup you had to boil 1/3 cup of water in a small sauce pan and add the sugar in until completely dissolved. This was the first step and if there were judges, I totally would have gotten a ten. The step was cutting up the strawberries. At first I was very precise with eat cut, trying to make them all the same, but after the third strawberry, I thought it is just food and is going to be eaten anyway therefore precision of strawberry sizes doesn’t matter. The next step was putting the strawberries in dixie cups spread out evenly and not making them too heavy. I filled each dixie up to about a fourth to a fifth of strawberries. Then I began cutting up the lemons, squeezing them, and pulling out the seeds into a huge pitcher. Because I watched numerous videos on how-to-make popsicles I learned a neat skill of rolling the lemon and pressing on it before you cut it and began to squeeze it, however, I also was on the phone with my mom and she brought up the same tip. This helps soften the lemon up and makes it easier to get the juice.
After the juice was made I poured it into the dixie cups filling them to the top and adding popsicle sticks into the center. Another tricked I learned, this time from my friend whose house I was making these popsicles at, is to help the popsicle sticks stay in the middle by using foil or some type of wrap to hold the sticks in place. This helps the sticks from moving and staying in the center. So I cut little square tin foil sheets to place over the dixie cups and once done I put them into the freezer to stay overnight. When I was all done I turned around to a messy kitchen, covered in sugar, water, strawberry and lemon juice, and a dog that wouldn’t stop licking at the floor. In all the tutorials, videos, pictures, and more, the kitchen didn’t end up being this dirty. Then I looked at myself and all the sprayed juice on me and knew I wasn’t pristine and clean like the professionals online who can make popsicles without even the smallest mess. But then I remembered how practiced these people are, the first time they made popsicles they weren’t videotaping themselves, and most of these people have been professionally trained. Whereas I did my learning through reading, pictures, and online videos and blogs. Through the VARK learning test my results showed that I was an aural and kinesthetic learner. This means I enjoy talking, asking questions, and listening to directions as well as being able to hands on learn and practice in order to understand something. I am sure that if I started making popsicles once a week, by the fourth week I would be an ultimate pro, able to make them in mere minutes without even the slightest mess. I also think that had there been a lecture on popsicle making where I could listen and ask questions, I would also have accomplished this task better.
My two concerns when beginning this project was that I would forget an ingredient or they would end up tasting gross, luckily neither of that happened. The directions that I felt most helpful were the video clips that showed exactly what the directions were talking about. Also simply the YouTube videos that went through the whole process of each step. By watching the process you were able to learn skills and see exactly what you have to do. I think that the authors created these resources in order to help visual and aural learners to understand. The written directions were for people who are read/write learners and even with those directions there were still some pictures, again for visual learners. The only type of learning that I had not gone to was a kinesthetic learning environment which would entail me going to one of those cooking/baking places where they have hands on learning classes. Having my mom and my friend as a resource was also helpful because I could ask them direct questions and hear their feedback immediately instead of having to spend a lot of time looking online for the exact answer for your question or when you get stuck. I learned that baking was a lot like learning a new gymnastics routine. You just have to follow the steps and the process like the girl in the YouTube video and before you know it you are done. So maybe my process wasn’t the perfect ten, but this was only the first go-around.