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Posts tagged with Fruit

A holiday week snack perfect for the kiddos

Happy Thanksgiving week, friends. I hope everyone is warm and cozy and gearing up to devour some delicious seasonal treats on the big day (and then for a few days thereafter).

Last week, I shared an easy and tasty side dish perfect for bringing to dinner or adding to your own menu. This week, I've decided I’d share a recipe geared more to those inevitable holiday hours when everyone is around the house, looking for something fun to do, and trying to avoid eating all of the special Turkey Day food (both before and after the day itself).

Therefore, I present the perfect, healthy, kid-friendly snack for this holiday week (and the ones we’ll have in December): Tea-Time Banana Sandwiches.

These are easy, require no special equipment, and, by design, they include ingredients you probably already have around the house: bananas, peanut butter and chocolate. Because, if there’s one thing that’s no fun, it’s heading to the store for a single ingredient during the holiday rush.

Make a few with your kids while you enjoy the holiday hours together, and then make them again over winter break in a few weeks. They’re messy and won’t impress guests, but they’re good fun for the kids and the grownups, and they double as a not-so-bad cabin fever snack.

They're not pretty, but they're kid's play for children and grownups alike and require no special equipment to make.

They're not pretty, but they're kid's play for children and grownups alike and require no special equipment to make. by Sarah Henning

Tea-Time Banana Sandwiches

2 medium bananas or 1 large one

2 to 3 tablespoons peanut or almond butter

1/4 cup chocolate chips (or a chopped-up bar of regular chocolate if you don’t have chocolate chips)

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a double broiler (or a glass bowl mounted over water in a saucepan), begin to melt the chocolate chips over low heat. Meanwhile, slice the bananas into quarter-inch slices. Spread a bit of peanut butter on half the slices (this is awkward but fun) and then assemble your banana-peanut butter sandwiches.

When the chocolate has melted, use a toothpick (or just your fingers — no need to head to the store for just toothpicks!) to dip one side of the banana sandwiches in chocolate. Place each dipped sandwich on the lined cookie sheet.

When all the sandwiches are made and coated, place the cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 10 minutes. Then pull them out and enjoy.

You can store these in the freezer, but they probably won't last long enough to do so.

Variation: If you want a version without any refined sugar, swap the chocolate chips for 1/4 cup semi-soft coconut oil (too melted and it won’t coat properly), 1 tablespoon (or more) maple syrup and 1 teaspoon cocoa powder. Mix it together and use it to coat the sandwiches. You may need to freeze the sandwiches once first and then dip them in this mixture before returning them to the freezer.

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Oh, how does the garden grow

The kiddo with our two new garden beds. The wood one is for grapes, the stone one is for elderberries.

The kiddo with our two new garden beds. The wood one is for grapes, the stone one is for elderberries. by Sarah Henning

In addition to our CSA share from Rolling Prairie and our trips to the Lawrence Farmers’ Market, my family always has another source of local produce in the spring and summer: our garden.

I’ve mentioned before that I’d looked forward to having a garden since before buying our house. I’d wanted one back when we owned a little Key West-style place in South Florida, but the “soil” (sand?) wasn’t really conducive to growing anything besides grass, and it barely did that. Therefore, moving to Lawrence was big.

From a single raised bed, our garden has grown to include (as of this year), three vegetable beds, three fruit beds (blackberries and strawberries in one, elderberries in another, and grapes in yet another), plus a bunch of herbs in our container garden and three fruit trees: cherry, peach and pear.

We don’t have an “urban” farm yet, and we probably never will, but I’m really happy with the how much our little garden has grown in the past few years. Really, it started out with just a hope to grow our own tomatoes. But once I really took a look at all the items we could grow ourselves in Kansas, the garden just — poof — exploded.

Have we gotten much of a return on all the time we’ve put in, planting, watering and weeding? Well, yes and no.

No in that we are probably candidates to write the sequel to that book, "The $64 Tomato". I keep track of what we spend on the garden each year, but I’ve never really plugged in what we’ve gotten for all that money. All I know is that some summers — the ones where we had consistent temps in the 100s — we didn’t get much at all.

But yes in that we’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment from the possibilities. We never know if we’ll get 100 tomatoes or one. If our blackberries will survive or die like the blueberries and raspberries before them. And when we have successes (you should see the blackberries!) it’s a pleasant surprise. Even more than that, it’s not just educational for me, it’s educational for my 5-year-old, who already knows so much more than I did about growing produce when I was double his age.

Happy gardening.

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Strawberries sans shortcake

Strawberries are great on their own, but add in a few extras and you have yourself one powerful snack.

Strawberries are great on their own, but add in a few extras and you have yourself one powerful snack. by Sarah Henning

It’s not that often that I write about snacks on this blog, and I’m trying to make up for that this year, with a few more ideas on what to eat when you’re hungry but not eating a meal proper.

Today’s particular snack is one I’ve been having after a run. It’s just enough to help me recover without making me so full that it’s hard to have lunch or dinner a few hours later.

It’s got fresh fruit for vitamin C and potassium, healthy omega-3 fatty acids a bit of medium-chain fatty acids — all great post-run for recovery and fighting inflammation.

Though, of course, you don’t need to go for a run to enjoy this. Any old time between meals is a great time. That said, you might want to eat this with some floss handy. Chia and hemp love to grunge up a perfectly good smile (be we won't hold it against them because they're so good for us).

Strawberry-Banana Power Bowl

5-7 strawberries, quartered

1 banana, sliced

1/2 tablespoon chia seeds

1/2 tablespoon hemp seed

Coconut milk, to taste

Maple syrup, to taste

Layer strawberries and banana in a bowl. Drizzle with coconut milk and maple syrup. Top with chia and hemp. Serves one.

Tip: I like to buy one of those miniature cans of coconut milk and put it in the fridge overnight. When you’re ready to make your power bowl, open the can, pour the milk into a small bowl and then stir the cream and the liquid together. You’ll get something about the consistency of yogurt.

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Deck the halls with tinsel and tomatoes

Last week, it was suggested to me that rather that decking the halls with traditional poinsettias, it might be just as easy and more beneficial to decorate for the holidays with the king of summer fruit — the tomato.

In fact, it's already being done by some folks in New Hampshire, a place not known for copious amounts of winter sun.

The idea? Pick up a super dwarf variety (like the "Red Robin" plant above) or two, put the plants in pretty pots and use them to decorate the sunnier windows in your home. You'll have the same festive "red and green" color scheme as a poinsettia, but, obviously, because you'll be getting fruit off of it, a tomato plant is a bonus buy.

If my house had better light (I'm super short on south-facing windows), I would totally try it (tomatoes would go nicely with my fruit tree). Would you?

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My favorite way to showcase fruit during the holiday season

It's festive, it's easy, it's healthy: It's the fruit tree!

And it's one of my favorite Christmas directions. All you need to do is take a cupcake tree and fill it with various fruits. Stick it on a table, counter or mantle and you'll have a reminder to eat your fruit, and get give your fruit bowl a break.

I haven't tried this, but if you'd like to do a healthy version of an advent calendar, you could probably do so easily with a 24-space cupcake holder like mine. Just a thought.

And while I like the one I made this year (above) featuring clementines, apples and a pomegranate, my favorite one so far was the monochromatic all-clementine one I did last year.

Of course, the best thing about a fruit tree, is it's easily changeable, so the second there are bald spots on my current "tree," I can just fill it in until I have all clementines, or maybe all apples. Pretty!

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