Saturday, September 24, 2011

get sauced

A huge part of being an absolute food snob involves being picky about what I feed my kids. It is not so much about calorie counting or Michelle Obama telling me to make sure my kids aren't fat or whether they eat Cheetos every once in a while. It's about being as balanced and truly un-insane about the whole thing as I possibly can. 
True Story:  I had a great friend growing up whose mother would actually wrap up boxes of Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch and give them as Christmas gifts!! The rest of the year it was Raisin Bran or steel-cut oats for breakfast, no questions asked. 
This friend would come to my house and her head would just about explode to watch me make each of us a HUGE ice cream sundae smothered in chocolate sauce every other day after school. Her mom didn't let her come over so often after a little while. I think I juuust might know why.
With my own family I am just trying to fall somewhere in the middle of those extremes. That's all. 
But I love to cook and try things from scratch. And I especially love making things that 1: The kids will devour. 2: Are cheap. and 3: Are better than store-bought. 
And I have hit the jackpot with homemade fruit roll-ups. 
The first recipe I tried was this one from the ladies at ourbestbites.com. I made raspberry roll-ups because that's what was on sale at the grocery store. Yum. The simple recipe and fantastic results (no time for pictures- these things were gone in moments) spurred me on to find more fruits for rolling. 
And then I got an email from HomeMadeSimple.com. I honestly love love love getting emails from those guys. The link they sent me was for an article called Easy Apple Bash. And I clicked it. And now I seriously need to have an apple party!! How cute is this?! ...Jerks.
As I clicked through the site and dreamed of my fabulous future with apples, I  spied their recipe for fruit leather made from apple sauce.
It is completely cheater-y, but, hey, if you don't get to cheat just a little bit when you are home with two small children all day... well then that sucks. 
I also have one hundred thousand cans of apple sauce in my pantry (that number might be a slight exaggeration), so I knew I had to try it. So let's get down to facts.
Fact: I have no idea what makes Western Family Apple Sauce "Fancy".
Fact: This recipe took me two minutes to get the ingredients prepped and in the oven. 
Fact: This recipe made my house smell like apple pie all day long.
Fact: This recipe turned out perfectly. 
Fact: The apple fruit roll-ups lasted even less time than the raspberry ones did. And I doubled the recipe.
Doling out two roll-ups max per kid per day (husbands are included in the "kid" demographic) is going to have to be my new rule, but I couldn't seem to help myself this time around: I simply loved seeing something make snack time so easy on everyone (...okay, mostly just on me).

Apple Spice Fruit Leather

a la Home Made Simple 
Yields one 11”x17” pan of fruit leather
Prep time: 20 minutes (Seriously false. Three minutes, maybe.)
Cook time: 5-8 hours at 170°F

INGREDIENTS
1 25-ounce jar of applesauce
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 170°F. Line an 11”x17” jelly-roll pan or lipped cookie sheet with greased parchment paper (DO NOT USE WAX PAPER! It will smoke in the oven), plastic wrap (This is what I use. Don't worry- it will not melt) or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Spread the puree until it’s about 1/4” thick. Pick up the pan and tilt back and forth until it’s evenly distributed.
  3. Bake in the oven for 5-8 hours. Rotate the pan halfway during the baking time to ensure even drying. Timing will vary depending on the fruit used. It’s ready when it’s smooth and non-tacky. If parts of it dry out a little too much, just spray it with a little bit of water. It's amazing how un-screw-up-able this is!                                                                                                                                                           
  4. Let it cool, then cut in strips with scissors or a pizza cutter. Stack or roll them (I roll mine up in wax paper and tape them shut. For a fancier presentation wrap them with twine!) and store in an airtight container or a zipper storage bag. Store in a cool, dry place. You can store fruit leather for up to a year in the freezer, six months in the refrigerator or a few weeks at room temperature.

2 comments:

  1. Love your shout out to Coke in glass bottles. Reminds me of when you came back from Costa Rica and wouldn't shut up about it for about a year straight. ;-)

    Not a foodie myself (you now how limited my mother's cooking was) but I LOVE your writing voice and always thought you should be a writer. So I will keep reading!

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  2. I am starting to get my cook-on. (Pretty sad that it took me two and a half-years of being married to f.i.n.a.l.l.y. develop this desire... but that is besides the point, right?... Right?) I am excited to hear your comments and try out some of your recipe's and food place suggestions. I love it!

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