You’ve beelined it to your local ice cream parlor on a hot summer day and regularly dish out yogurt at snack time. In fact, dairy may be your kids’ favorite food group. Luckily for you, Washington state produces some of the highest-quality dairy products around. All of the milk produced by Washington dairy farm families is rbST free and it all comes from happy cows. Red Tricycle Seattle writer, Helen recently visited a WA dairy farm and got inspired to take advantage of these high-quality dairy products in your own kitchen. Flip through the photo gallery to get cookin’.

DIY Frozen Banana Split

Banana splits are a classic summer staple. If you're feeling in the mood, check out this beloved dessert from cook, writer, photographer and mom, Shaina Olmanson. These delicious sweet treats, served in glass jars, make for a crafty DIY dessert and easy clean-up afterward. Perfect for laid-back summer fun!

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
5 bananas, peeled, cut in chunks, and frozen
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple in 100% juice, drained
1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup chocolate sauce; recipe follows
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
8 maraschino cherries

1. Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, granulated sugar, and butter in a bowl. Divide the graham cracker mixture evenly among eight 8-ounce jars, and press the mixture into the bottoms of the jars.

2.  In a food processor, blend the frozen banana chunks until smooth. Scoop on top of the graham cracker mixture and level off. Add one ounce of crushed pineapple to the top of each jar and follow with the strawberries. Drizzle chocolate sauce over the strawberries. (Reserve any leftover chocolate sauce for another use.)

3. Beat the cream and the confectioners’ sugar in a medium-size bowl until stiff peaks form. Pipe or spoon the whipped cream over the chocolate sauce and top each jar with a maraschino cherry. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Sauce:

1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Pinch of salt
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, heat the cream, water, cocoa powder, sugar, corn syrup, and salt over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture just begins to boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Allow to cool slightly. The sauce can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator; reheat it slightly before pouring over your dessert.

recipe and photo courtesy of Shaina Olmanson's book Desserts in Jars: 50 Sweet Treats that Shine. Buy the book on amazon.com.

Shaina Olmanson is a cook, writer, and photographer and the mother of four young children. She writes the popular (50,000 visitors each month) blog, FoodforMyFamily.com. She also writes for two other blogs, Food Your Way and Simple Bites, and she is the editor of the food channel for LifetimeMoms.com. She lives in Minneapolis.  

What dairy product can your kids not get enough of? Which of the above recipes are you planning to make? Leave us a Comment below and “like” this story to share!

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The Washington Dairy Products Commission celebrates the contribution of local dairy farm families. By producing wholesome and nutritious dairy products and caring for their cows and land, local dairy farm families are a key ingredient to making the northwest a great place to live. Learn more at www.akeyingredient.com.