Leesburg has grown tremendously since our family moved here 16 years ago, but it remains a small town in the most important ways. When we walk downtown on the weekends, we greet most of the shopkeepers by name — and we return to a neighborhood where everyone looks out for each other.
Our neighbors Bob and Stephanie are perfect examples. They would restore even a curmudgeon’s faith in humanity. Here’s a text from Bob:
How cool is that? A minute later he was at the fence holding a bounty of peaches.
I had planned to make some mini pies with the peaches, giving one back to Bob and Stephanie, but it was a busy week and I didn’t have time. Instead, I made these super easy Peach Pops (most of which were eaten up by my daughter and her friends).
I have made peach pops before, but this time I added a few dried apricots. They really amp up the flavor and help the texture of the pops: A good addition.
Next time Bob is mowing the lawn, or Stephanie is tending her dahlias, I’ll offer them a pop that tastes like Virginia, and the season, and friendship.
It is already in the high 80’s here in Northern Virginia. We get every kind of weather here! Over the just-past winter, we had so much snow and cold, I felt like I was back in New England. Remember how they shut schools and even cancelled exams over it? As soon as the temperatures rose, a crack appeared in the windshield of my car and I started wondering if maybe the temperatures vary by greater extremes here than most places in the US. I’m sure keeping my car in a garage would also help, but if it’s -20 degrees Farenheit one month and potentially about 108 degrees a few months later, that’s a lot of stress on windshields…and people!..etc.
Well, I got the windshield repaired in time for our first heat wave anyway. All of this rambling is really just to say that while I do love to hang out by the oven much of the year, there are times when no one wants to bake. It’s time for something else.
It’s time for pops!
The frozen pops craze started sweeping the nation a few years ago and I can see why: (1) They are generally pretty easy to make, (2) They are easy to store and keep for a while since they are frozen, (3) If you want to be healthy, you can use local fruit etc. and make something that is delicious, nutritious, and fits with your food philosophy, (4) Much like the cupcake craze, pops can at once be a happy reminder of your childhood and an opportunity for each of us to be a “connoisseur” passing our judgement as experts in this realm. What fun!
I started making pops at home and I have a few good recipes I’ll share here for use on days when it’s just too darn hot. Let’s start with some that are chocolate-y-licious…
I started by selling cookies at the farmers' market. Then, in 2006, I rented a few small rooms in an old Victorian building in historic downtown Leesburg, Virginia, and turned them into the bakery of my dreams.
We baked everything in our open kitchen using no preservatives and no artificial flavors — because that's how it tastes best.
Lola's was featured on The Rachael Ray Show and Fox 5 TV; in Washingtonian magazine and Northern Virginia magazine; and on the cover of Loudoun Magazine.
In 2013 our building was sold and converted to office spaces, so we closed — at least for the moment. So many customers asked for our recipes that I started this blog in response.