Monday, August 16, 2010

Apples and peaches and kale, oh my!

The kids have gone back to school and that means one thing for me. It's time to get a new hobby. And fortunately this hobby is going to make us all healthier and happier!

I'm on a health food kick.

Everyone that knows me just burst into uncontrollable laughter when they read that. Go ahead, laugh. I'll wait.

Ok, so I admit it. Fruits and vegetables aren't exactly my best friends. Actually, we haven't been speaking to each other much for quite some time. I have a lot of weird food issues. I have texture issues with fruit that make it really hard for me to eat a lot of it. It's not the taste I don't like, it's the texture. It makes me gag. I've had it all my life but it's gotten worse as an adult. I literally can't force myself to eat it. There are some fruits I can eat, like apples, but it's always a struggle for me to eat as much fruit as I should.

Veggies are kind of the same way. There is a short list of them that I really enjoy, like carrots and peas and corn, but there is a huge list of vegetables that I just absolutely can't eat. I know it's just a mental thing, but I literally can't choke them down. I can't do it.

It's something I've always struggled with and it's something I've tried to change a million times. I know I need to eat better, and I try, but it's hard.

So I was reading someone's blog recently and came across a post about green smoothies. Has everyone heard about green smoothies? It's basically a smoothie made with fruits and vegetables. You put greens in it, like kale or spinich or whatever you want, and then you add enough fresh fruit to mask the taste of the veggies.

As soon as I read about it I knew it was for me, so I was off to buy a good blender and some fruit. I have a blender and it's crappy, so before I went to the store I did a lot of research on blenders that would chop ice and make a smoothie without wimping out like the blender I currently have. What I found is that there are some SERIOUSLY expensive blenders out there! I was excited about my new smoothie kick, but not $400 worth of excited. But after reading a zillion reviews I found a blender in my price range that is supposed to do a great job with smoothies and I headed off to Bed Bath and Beyond this morning.

I knew how much I was planning to spend and when I got to the store I was pleasantly surprised that the blender was $50 less than I thought it was going to be. Yay! And then I happened to look next to the blenders and they had a stack of food dehydrators. A while ago I kicked around the idea of making fruit leather and dried fruit to get our family to eat more fruit but I had kind of forgotten about that idea. But the price of the dehydrator at the store was about just about the same price as the money I saved on the blender, so I figured I could buy both of them and spend what I was planning to spend when I went in there. Bonus!

So I bought my dehydrator and my blender and headed off to the grocery store to buy fruit and veggies. I bought kale, collard greens, spinich, strawberries, bananas, peaches and blueberries. I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted so I bought a little bit of everything and figured I'd experiment.

I came home super excited to start play with my new toys and I got to work. I tried the smoothie first. There are lots of different ways to make a green smoothie, but here's what I did. I filled the blender about 2/3 full of greens. Then I added some strawberries, a banana, some peach slices, some blueberries and a little bit of yogurt. Then I added some water and ice (I don't know how much really. I just threw some in.). Then I put my new blender to work! It did an awesome job! Oh, I also added a little bit of liquid stevia to sweeten it a little. I was a little afraid of it tasting too much like collard greens!

I had to play around with it a little bit. I tasted it a few times and added a little more fruit but eventually I had a very drinkable smoothie! It looked kind of gross but it actually didn't taste bad at all. As long as I didn't think about the fact that I was drinking collard greens and spinich I did OK! :)

I'm going to try it again tomorrow and play around with it some more. I actually have some frozen tropical fruit blend in the freezer that I might try. Anyway, I think this might just work for me! I may even see if I can get the kids to drink one tomorrow. They're much better about eating fruit than I am, but it's a good way to sneak some extra veggies into their day.

So once that project was done I moved on to my dehydrator. I actually really like dried fruit and fruit leather so I was super excited to make my own. I read the manual that came with the dehydrator and there's actually all kinds of fun things you can dehydrate. I can dehydrate the roses in my yard and make potpouri! Fun!

I started with fruit leather. I wanted to do strawberry but I didn't want to use up all my strawberries so I decided to throw a peach in there. All I did was cut up some strawberries and a peach, I threw them in the blender and pureed it and poured it onto the dehydrator mat. That's all there is to making fruit leather! Then I used my super cool apple peeler to core and spiral cut an apple and laid out apple pieces on another tray to make apple chips.

I stacked the trays, put the top on the dehydrator, turned it on and waited four hours for it to be done. I should say that after all my fun with fruit today my house smelled AMAZING! It smelled like strawberries and peaches all afternoon.

Four hours later I took off the lid...and it turned out just OK. The taste of the fruit leather was great, but I think I may not have made it thick enough. It was a little crunchy. I'm going to try again tomorrow. The apples turned out good! Matthew especially liked them a lot. I'm excited to do some more experimenting with different fruits!

So there you have it; my new healthy hobby. Yay! :)

1 comment:

Jill said...

Good for you! I am not a fan of veggies, and my 2 yr. old won't get near fruit or veggies at ALL, so we made smoothies a lot. The kids like them frozen, so I pour them into an ice cube tray, freeze them, the dump the frozen cubes into a container that sits in the freezer. The kids can come in and grab a few cubes to eat as a snack. Yummy and healthy!