Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Keeping It Fresh

When I was younger, I remember eating fresh fruit, but I don't remember a lot of variety. I know that we had oranges, apples, bananas and grapes. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing that many of the fruits that are available at the store now, simply weren't as readily available. We always had our share of fresh strawberries, some of which we even picked. I can remember picking apples, but I think we made most of those into apple sauce. I remember having apples at Grandma and Grandpa's house. I was always impressed that they could peel a whole apple in one continuous strip - I still can't do that to this day. I can remember fruit salad, made with pomegranates and kiwis, every Thanksgiving at my aunt and uncle's house. When I was pregnant with my son, I craved fruit. I think I mostly needed more fluids and I couldn't drink another cup of water, but I could eat fruit in all of it's moist deliciousness.

There are so many wonderful things about fruit. They are cool and fresh. They can be sweet or tart. They can be crunchy or soft. You can even eat them to fill a salt craving (know anyone that salts their watermelon?). They can be eaten on their own, or with cheese, or prepared in a recipe, or on a salad.

I try to make sure that we always have fresh fruit in the house. As seasons change, so do the types of fresh fruit that we have on hand. Making it a quick, easy to reach for snack (or dessert), helps me make sure that my family is eating healthy and getting a variety of nutrients.

I love fruit on my cereal - bananas, strawberries and blueberries are the most common fruits that we have. They are also good on oatmeal or cooked into pancakes. In the summer, we pick up extra blueberries and freeze them. We love to add frozen blueberries to our cereal. The milk crystallizes around the blueberries and they are cool, frosty and bursting with flavor.

Nights when I pull out the blender and make a quick smoothie with just fresh fruit (generally that fruit has been frozen) and some yogurt, the kids think it is a real treat. I read over on Money Saving Mom, how she uses smoothies to sneak in ingredients - I haven't done that, but it probably is a great way to get nutrients that your children otherwise avoid. Who would notice if you added a few carrots or a little spinach. You would need to minimize for the color, but it would be easy.

Some of my favorite desserts are fruit based. Whether it is a crisp, a cobbler or a pie - count me in! There is just something so satisfying about the taste of a fruit dessert. My grandma also used to make apple cake, apple strudel and a rhubarb cake - all super delicious. Of course, you can't forget banana bread or banana cake! Yum. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

I have this salad from time to time that is simply greens topped with strawberry slices, mandarin orange slices, tomatoes and banana pepper rings. It is such a juicy, flavorful salad that I never use salad dressing for this salad (best part is, now that fresh fruit is Zero PointsPlus Value on the new Weight Watchers - it is Zero PointsPlus values for the whole salad - yum!!).

Fruit is so versatile and so yummy and as an added bonus is pretty good for you too! That works for me.

This post shared at Works for Me Wednesday.