Chewy and Cheap: Homemade Strawberry Fruit Leather

Chewy and Cheap: Homemade Strawberry Fruit Leather

For a quick and nonperishable snack| fruit leathers are perfect for keeping in your gym bag or purse. But costing almost a dollar each| these snacks can quickly add up in price. With a food processor| an oven| and a lazy afternoon| it’s easy to whip up a batch of fresh-tasting fruit leathers for a fraction of the cost. And bonus u2014 these homemade fruit leathers contain 15 calories instead of the 45 in most store-bought brands.

| Prep the Pan

Preheat your oven to 150u00b0F (or as low as your oven will go). Line an 11-by-17 cookie sheet with a Silpat baking mat. If you don’t have one| use parchment paper| although a Silpat will offer better results.

| Prep the Fruit

Wash| dry| and cut up four cups of strawberries (or other in-season fruit of your choice| such as peaches| bananas| or raspberries; frozen fruit works| too). Place in a food processor or blender.

| Puree

Puree the fruit until completely smooth| about 30 seconds.

| Pour and Bake

Slowly pour the pureed fruit onto the prepared pan. Use the back of a spoon or spatula to spread it out evenly. Carefully slide the pan into the oven| and bake for eight hours (or six to seven hours if your oven is at a slightly higher temperature).

| Cut and Store

Remove the pan once the fruit is set and still slightly tacky. Be careful not to overcook| as you’ll end up with fruit chips instead of fruit leather. Once the fruit has cooled to room temperature| slowly peel it off the mat or parchment paper. Lay it on a cutting board| and use a knife to cut out 12 portions; store in an airtight container.

Depending on the cost of the strawberries| each fruit leather averages around 40 cents to make.

Your Cheat Sheet For Adding More Fruits and Veggies to Your Diet

Your Cheat Sheet For Adding More Fruits and Veggies to Your Diet

Whenever I used to ask my kiddos what they want for dinner| I already knew what they were going to say: the answer was always “pasta.”” They even asked for it one time for breakfast. Getting my kids to branch out from their comfort zone and try anything but “”arms”” (that’s what my 4-year-old calls pasta elbows) was such a struggle. I never wanted to force them to eat adventurously but wanted their curiosity to inspire them instead.

I read somewhere that kids need to see and try foods three or four times in order for them to feel familiar| so I decided to bombard them with an eyeful of variety. I got creative and started making rainbow meals. The idea is that each plate has a food that represents every color of the rainbow. The concept is actually great for adults too| and I found I was eating more of a variety as well. I kept their colors separate using divided plates and silicone muffin cups u2014 all hell would break loose if their sweet potatoes touched their quinoa u2014 but for the grown-ups| I’d mix our foods together into big colorful bowls we couldn’t wait to eat.

Luckily| Mother Nature has the naturally bold-colored foods that contain all the good-for-you vitamins| minerals| and antioxidants you need| so focus on fruits| veggies| nuts| and whole grains. For some vibrant inspiration| this is the list I use to create my rainbow meals. Choose one or two foods from each color category (bonus points for mixing up textures)| and get ready for a sight and flavor explosion.

| Red/Pink

Apple
Beet
Cherry
Cranberry
Goji berry
Grapefruit
Kidney bean
Pear
Pomegranate seed
Radish
Raspberry
Red onion
Red pepper
Red plum
Red potato
Red quinoa
Rhubarb
Salsa
Strawberry
Tomato
Tomato sauce
Watermelon

| Orange

Apricot
Butternut squash
Carrot
Mango
Orange
Orange pepper
Papaya
Peach
Pumpkin
Red lentil
Sun gold tomato
Sweet potato
Tangerine

| Yellow

Apple
Banana
Corn
Egg
Golden raisin
Grapefruit
Lemon
Parsnip
Pineapple
Polenta
Spaghetti squash
Star fruit
Yellow pepper
Yellow squash
Yellow tomato
Yukon gold potato

| Green

Apple
Artichoke
Asparagus
Avocado
Broccoli
Brussels sprout
Celery
Cucumber
Edamame
Honeydew
Grape
Green bean
Green pepper
Kale
Kiwi
Leek
Lettuce
Lime
Olive
Pea
Pear
Pickle
Pumpkin seed
Seaweed
Snow pea
Spinach
Zucchini

| Blue/Purple/Black

Black bean
Blackberry
Blueberry
Date
Eggplant
Grape
Olive
Plum
Prune
Raisin
Red cabbage
Wild rice

| Brown/Tan/White

Applesauce
Bread
Cauliflower
Cheese
Coconut
Cracker
Hummus
Lentil
Mushroom
Nut/nut butter
Oatmeal
Onion
Pancake/waffle
Pasta
Pita bread
Potato
Quinoa
Rice
Sunflower seed
Tortilla
White bean
Yogurt

Got Produce? Fruits and Veggies That Contain Calcium

Whether you’re vegan, lactose intolerant, or just need a nutrient boost, it’s good to know that milk isn’t the only source of calcium. Aside from nuts, fortified cereals, tofu, and orange juice, fruits and veggies help offer the 1,000 milligrams of calcium you need every day. Check out the list below to see how produce stacks up in the calcium department and for ideas about new ways to get more of this important nutrient into your diet.

Food Calcium (mg)

1 cup apricots, dried 71.51 cup beet greens, cooked1641 cup fresh blackberries41.81/2 cup black soybeans801 cup broccoli, cooked62.41 bunch broccoli raab, cooked5161 cup collard greens, cooked2665 dates771/2 cup edamame48.85 figs671/2 cup great northern beans69.51 cup kale, cooked93.61 cup okra, cooked123.21 medium orange48.41 cup spinach, cooked2451 cup turnip greens, cooked197

Image Source: Flickr user sashafatcat

Got Produce? Fruits and Veggies That Contain Calcium

Whether you’re vegan| lactose intolerant| or just need a nutrient boost| it’s good to know that milk isn’t the only source of calcium. Aside from nuts| fortified cereals| tofu| and orange juice| fruits and veggies help offer the 1|000 milligrams of calcium you need every day. Check out the list below to see how produce stacks up in the calcium department and for ideas about new ways to get more of this important nutrient into your diet.

Food Calcium (mg)

1 cup apricots| dried 71.51 cup beet greens| cooked1641 cup fresh blackberries41.81/2 cup black soybeans801 cup broccoli| cooked62.41 bunch broccoli raab| cooked5161 cup collard greens| cooked2665 dates771/2 cup edamame48.85 figs671/2 cup great northern beans69.51 cup kale| cooked93.61 cup okra| cooked123.21 medium orange48.41 cup spinach| cooked2451 cup turnip greens| cooked197

Image Source: Flickr user sashafatcat