Tag Archives: busy

Strawberry Fruit Leather for Little Mouths

Hi. How are you feeling today?  Are you feeling like this?

Strawberry Fruit Leather- Foodies Gone Real

We are feeling a bit more like this:

Strawberry Fruit Leather for Little Mouths - Foodies Gone Real

I L-O-V-E winter, but I’m seriously missing fresh fruit.  It can be tricky this time of year, especially on a budget, and in the northeast.  So, I’m going to introduce you to a crazy simple snack for which that my five-year-old’s mouth thanks me.  My mouth thanks me, too.

Meet strawberry fruit leather.

Strawberry Fruit Leather for Little Mouths - Foodies Gone Real

So if pleasing the little people in your house isn’t the ONLY reason for making this, here are some others:

  • 1/2 cup of fruit equals 1 serving of fruit.  Therefore, my cutting this up into 12 servings means you are giving your family one serving of fruit without it really feeling like a fruit. (My kids equate this to dessert!)
  • Berries are some of the highest fruits in antioxidants (source here).  Berries are considered by many to be some of the healthiest, bang-for-your-buck fruit (all the other vitamins and benefits of eating colors – see my post here), but in the dead of winter (especially where in a region that is winter for nearly 6 months), feeding a fresh berry habit can be expensive.  FROZEN fruit, on the other hand, much cheaper.
  • And if you’re not living in the tundra and berries are relatively cheap, this is an excellent preservation method.  When they go on sale and you want to make sure you can still eat the cheap berries when they aren’t so cheap, do this!
  • Convenience.  I will be first to admit that I give my kids snacks when running errands to keep good behavior.  They think they’re getting a treat, I know they’re getting a cheap fruit snack and a few more minutes of sanity in a public place.

So! Here’s how you do it:

TOOLS:

  • Dehydrator, preferably one that is square and doesn’t have a cylinder in the middle. There may be a way to do this with the cylindrical type (custom cutting your parchment??) but I haven’t tried.
  • Parchment paper or a silicone sheet used for dehydrating/baking
  • Blender

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 cups of thawed strawberries, with their juices
  • 1 tbl sweetener such as raw honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, rapadura (*really only necessary if you’re using frozen as they tend to be more sour)
  • Dash of water (*if you use fresh berries instead of thawed frozen, you might need to add even more water to get your blender to blend, this will be an eye-ball-process)

METHOD:

  1. Dump your berries, berry juice, sweetener into the blender. Little by little (I would suggest a tablespoon at a time), add water to your mix in the blender until the mixture is like a super thick smoothie.  The amount of water needed will change depending on frozen versus fresh, the ability of your blender. What you’re looking for is the right consistency.
  2. Spread this mixture over one lined (parchment or silicone) dehydrator tray.  It’s going to be thick, and that’s ok. Do NOT spread this over two trays; if you want to trays, double the recipe!
  3. Dehydrate at 135* for about 6 hours.  You can tell it’s done if you can touch the middle and it’s not mushy, and if you start to pull up the sheet of dried fruit puree and it comes off in one piece (no mushy bits left on the parchment/silicone).
  4. If it’s not dry yet, put it back in for another couple of hours.  The actual time it takes to do this is going to depend on how much liquid you started off with.
  5. If you’re unable to hang around and test the doneness of this, or you’d like to do it overnight, go low and slow.  Do steps 1 & 2, then set your dehydrator to 110* and leave it in there for at least 10 hours.  You’ll still have to test the doneness as mentioned in step #4, but this may work better if you want to do it while sleeping or at work.
  6. Cut them up into twelve long strips, and bag them, or cut parchment papers to size and wrap with a rubber band.

Needless to say, they don’t last long in my house.  Remember that picture at the top of this post? Before I finished typing it looked more like this.

Strawberry Fruit Leather for Little Mouths - Foodies Gone Real

Enjoy!

Easy Summer Meal Plan

Hello, hello!

This week we have a nuts week – we won’t be home ANY evening this week, which means I had to figure out how to eat real, wholesome food, without spending much time cooking.

How do I plan on doing this?  Some of it is going to be this weekend – I’m making sure I’m stocked up on homemade bread, zucchini muffins, fruit leather, pale-O’s cereal.  I am making homemade yogurt, soaked granola.  I’m soaking beans for chili, and also to have around to throw in as an extra side for meals (read: Husband needs more calories. He will get some beans this week!).  I’m relying more on these snacks this week to fill in meals and inbetween meals since we’re short on time.

Sound like alot?  Here’s the best part … NOT REALLY.  With exception to the bread, muffins and cereal, they are ALL “prep and wait” recipes.  In other words, you might do the “first” step and then not have to come back to it for several hours.  (And truthfully, the bread is a little bit like that, too!)

So… I hope this helps you plan out an easy week when you know you’re week is going to be nuts with little time to do things from scratch.  Folks, it’s possible!

Sunday:

BREAKFAST: toast, egg/hashbrown casserole, fresh fruit of choice
LUNCH: big batch of chili!, smoothies (hidden greens!)
DINNER:  Healthy Chicken Nuggets, homemade coleslaw, side salad with the dressing from this recipe
EXTRAS: —

Monday:

BREAKFAST:soaked oatmeal, fresh fruit of choice, pastured cottage bacon
LUNCH:  turkey, cheese, tomatoes and lettuce in almond-flour wrap, steamed broccoli, apple slices
DINNER: fried rice loaded up on chicken, cabbage stir fry
EXTRAS: —

Tuesday:

BREAKFAST: scrambled eggs, smoothies (hidden spinach!), toast with this soaked bread
LUNCH: Peanut butter jelly sandwiches, roasted garlic scapes, apple slices
DINNER:  pan-fried/grilled chicken with this spice rub, carrot salad with yogurt, side salad with the dressing from this recipe
EXTRAS: soak flour for biscuits

Wednesday:

BREAKFAST: super berry smoothie, soaked biscuitshomemade breakfast sausage (I make a bunch at once, and then just pull out what I need from the freezer!)
LUNCH: sprouted pizza (using this dough recipe) + sauce and fresh mozzarella, fresh fruit of choice, *CSA Vegetable*
DINNER: Sloppy Joes (sub rapadura for brown sugar), *CSA Vegetable*
EXTRAS: —

Thursday:

BREAKFAST: scrambled eggs, smoothies (hidden veggies!), toast with this soaked bread
LUNCH: apples with peanut butter, grilled chicken topped with BBQ Sauce, *CSA Vegetable*
DINNER: chop salad, toast, fresh fruit of choice
EXTRAS:

Friday:

BREAKFAST: toast (from this soaked bread), homemade breakfast sausage, bananas + strawberries
LUNCH: leftover day!
DINNER: hot dogs with leftover chili, side salad with the dressing from this recipe  
EXTRAS: soak flour for bread

Saturday:

BREAKFAST: coconut flour pancakes with added blueberries, bacon
LUNCH: peanut butter sandwiches with homemade bread, fresh fruit, yogurt
DINNER: garlic chive green beans, tri-color sage potatoes, pomegranate-glazed baked chicken (I won’t roast a whole, maybe a half or pieces)
EXTRAS: bake bread,

Snacks:

zucchini muffins, sweet potato apple fruit leatherhomemade yogurt, soaked granolapale-O’s cereal

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