When You Feel Like a Stinker, Go Do Something Nice – Apple Peach Fruit Leathers

Wish I could say I had orchestrated this on purpose, but I’m afraid that’s just not the case.  A little family bike ride the other night led us through an area near our house known as The Incredible Edible Garden.  We noticed that tons of tomatoes, squash and peppers were literally rotting on the vine.

A couple of days later I did a little googling around and found the contact info for the food bank that harvests the crops.  The lady on the phone didn’t seem too concerned about a minimum group size, so I arranged for myself and kiddos to go do some gleaning today. I roped a friend’s kids into picking with us, and off we went.  What a wonderful relief to the stress I have been feeling of late.  Everything was put on hold for two hours as we did nothing but pick eggplant.  Who knew eggplant could be so therapeutic?!  And who knew that eggplant could be so prickly?  I was glad to get these shoes off when we were done picking.

pickingshoes

All together we picked 11 bins of eggplant and 2 bins of bell peppers.  Not bad for a band of 5 kids, one toddler, one almost toddler, and a weary mom.  Everything we picked will go to Second Harvest Food Bank and be distributed to people who are in need.  How cool is that?

We had one brief break while picking and I whipped out some homemade fruit leathers, water, and grapes.  Let’s just say that the friend’s daughter that I  had taken with us is BEYOND PICKY in what she eats.  I was banking on her maybe drinking some water and that would be about it.  She suspiciously eyed the fruit leathers.  Like an animal checking out its prey, she inched closer and closer.  She asked what they were and I answered.  Still not actually offering so as to not scare her off.  Finally she asked to taste.  I held out the container and she took a smidge.  That would be the end of that, I thought.   All of a sudden it was like Mikey and the old Life commercial – She liked it; she really, really liked it!  To the tune of about 6 fruit leathers down the hatch.  So with that picky eater approval, I present you Apple Peach Fruit Leathers. This is so simple it is ridiculous!

I started with some unsweetened applesauce. Then, I pureed one peach and added that to the applesauce.

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After that, I added in some cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.

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I spread the mixture out thinly and evenly on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

leatherspread

Now here’s the kicker . . . I baked it for SIX hours at 170 degrees.  I then used a pizza cutter and cut the leathers into strip size pieces.

So easy (long yes, but easy) and so healthy.

leathersfinal1

Oh, and the really sweet part of this deal?  Not really satisfying the picky eater friend at all.  But driving these kiddos to get well-deserved milkshakes post-picking and hearing their sweet voices as they prayed for the people who would eat the food that they had gathered.

leathergroup

Here’s the complete recipe for Apple Peach Fruit Leathers, adapted from my friend over at Love Life Naturally.

Want to explore more “leather” recipes?  Check these out to start.

Never Underestimate the Tastebuds of a Kid – Cranberry Pistachio Energy Bites

Weird.  The only word fitting to start this post.  If you have read about our Carrot Breakfast Protein Bars, then you know that this week I have been experimenting with energy, boosting healthy snacks as we head into a weekend of Water Polo Junior Olympics.  Well when I saw a picture of these Cranberry Pistachio Bites, I thought they were beautiful.  Yes, I’m odd that way.  I find food, especially colorful food, beautiful.

So the way this recipe rolls, there’s a point where you mold the “dough” into bite-sized balls.  I seriously almost chucked the entire thing down the garbage disposal at this point in the process.  It was just weird.  It felt weird.  It looked weird.  And it wasn’t holding together like I thought it would.  But I persevered.  I’m just wired that way with a lot of things  (can’t walk out of a movie theater in the middle of a bad movie, can’t abandon a bad book . . .)  I guess I  have a hopeless belief in redemption.

So I stuck with my sticky mess and completed all of these little Energy Bite Balls.  The Hubs tried one and appeared really impressed.  Was he just faking because he saw my “energy bite disappointment”?  I thought so.  I was definitely not going to ask the kiddos to taste one.  But, shocker of all shockers, they ASKED to try one.  I started with the 10 year old.  Thumbs up.  Next, on to the 8 year old.  Another thumbs up.  Gasp.  On to the 8 year old’s friend who had slept over last night.  Not a loving embrace, but . . .  she finished it.  Finally, the 4 year old.  Loved it.  Amazing!  They consumed 9 of them in a matter of minutes.  And to think that I had almost gifted the disposal with this “weird” yumminess.

So here’s the super simple way these little bites went together.

I started by putting chopped dates, honey, chia seeds, wheat germ and salt in the food processor.  This was seriously some THICK stuff to mix.  I pulsed until it was able to be stirred.

energy processor

I transferred that mixture to a bowl and added in cranberries, pistachios, and white chocolate chips.

energy mixture

After this was all mixed well, I put it into the fridge and let cool for about 30 minutes.  This was supposed to make the batter easier to work with, but this is where the weirdness all came in.  It was really tricky to form them into bite-sized balls.  I stayed the course though, and they were basically done.

Energy final

Voila – – – Cranberry Pistachio Energy Bites!  Who would have thought that they could be so good?