Chocolate Covered Apple Slices

apple slices

Sometimes it can be a challenge to get your kids to eat healthy, I struggle daily with this because I have two pretty picky eaters. Thankfully, my son at least loves fruit but my daughter will put up a fight over anything that isn’t junk food or a hamburger. So I thought that if we dressed up our fruit a little it would motivate her to at least eat something a little better than chips or pretzels. I used dark chocolate which is a bit “healthier” and with such a thin layer of the yummy stuff, this snack really is just fruit on a stick!

The little beauties pictured above were handmade by both of my kids. They were in charge of dipping and decorating and I think they did an amazing job! Plus, they were so excited to eat them since they were the sous chefs in charge. That is the great benefit of letting your kids help you in the kitchen, when they have some ownership over the food that is being prepared they are more inclined to want to try new things. No surprise, my daughter liked them!

For this batch of apples they decided to use sprinkles, diced pecans, mini chocolate chips and toffee bits for their toppings. You can really use almost anything you have in the pantry as a topping such as crushed cookies or graham crackers, mini marshmallows, crushed candy, sanding sugar, etc. This is a great opportunity for your kids to get creative in the kitchen. If you wanted to be a little “naughty” and amp these up a level, dip the apple slices into melted caramel first, let cool and then coat with chocolate. SO good!

Before you dip the apples into the chocolate I recommend that you give the slices a quick dip in lemon juice. The lemon juice will help to prevent the cut apple slices from getting brown and mushy. When you remove them from the lemon juice gently dry with a clean paper towel before you begin dipping them into the chocolate. Do not skip this step as you do not want to introduce any liquid into the melted chocolate because it can cause it to seize rendering it completely unusable. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2-3 unpeeled apples, cored and sliced
  • wooden skewers
  • lemon juice, for preservation
  • 1 bag of chocolate melting wafers or other chocolate
  • assorted toppings
  • wax paper, for workspace

Instructions

Thoroughly wash apples then core and slice them. Place them into a bowl of lemon juice and gently swirl them around for a minute or two. Remove and pat dry with a clean paper towel. Place a wooden skewer in each slice. Sort toppings into small bowls or cups.

apple slices 2

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave. Dip the slices, one at a time, into the chocolate and then gently tap them on the side of bowl or pot to remove excess chocolate. Hold the apple slice over the wax paper and sprinkle on the topping.

emme dipping

Gently place the apple slices on a cookie sheet lined with a silicone mat. Place the finished slices into the refrigerator and allow them to cool and harden for at least 20-30 minutes.  Store them in the refrigerator until serving.

apple slices

“Peachy Pie” Smoothie Monster Pops

pops

With summer in full swing you will no doubt have sweaty, hot kids begging you for a cool treat. Instead of the same old store-bought, sugar laden ice pops why not give them a healthier but equally as yummy treat. Whip them up a batch of Smoothie “Monster” Pops and you’ll feel good about giving them a treat that is healthier for them.

If your kids don’t like peaches, no problem! Just change up the fruit and make a flavor combination that they will love. Try pineapple with a little shredded coconut and a splash of coconut extract for a yummy virgin Piña Colada! Lemon Strawberry and Banana Berry are other really nice combinations to try. Creating your own smoothie flavor is easy, just keep the base ingredients of yogurt and milk the same and then throw in whatever fruit and spices you desire. Enjoy and stay cool!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen peaches, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup lowfat milk
  • 1/2 cup vanilla flavored lowfat yogurt

Instructions

Pour the milk into the blender along with the yogurt, vanilla extract and spices. Add the frozen peaches last. Blend until smooth. Pour into prepared ice pop molds and freeze until hardened.

**Tip – I use a little bit of Truvia® (stevia) to sweeten my smoothies. You can use granulated sugar, agave, honey or not use anything at all.**

“Peachy Pie” Smoothie

smoothie.jpg

Who doesn’t enjoy a refreshing, fruity smoothie? They make a great quick breakfast or treat for any time of day! With summer underway fresh peaches will be at their peak in July and August so why not grab a bushel and make yourself some yummy smoothies to start off your day?

I like to double or triple this recipe when I make it so that I have leftovers. You can freeze the remaining smoothie mixture in a resealable bag and the next time you are in the mood for a smoothie, you’ll just need to add some of the frozen smoothie mix to your blender along with a little extra milk and blend. Easy peasy! I also like to use the leftover smoothie mixture to make Smoothie “Monster” Pops for my kids. It’s a healthier alternative to store-bought frozen pops and they love the creamy texture. I love that I can sneak in all kinds of healthy fruits without them even knowing.

This recipe is really nice because you can play around with the fruit combinations and spices to achieve whatever flavor profile you’re looking for. Another favorite smoothie concoction that I love is pineapple with a little shredded coconut and a splash of coconut extract. It tastes like a delicious virgin Piña Colada! Lemon Strawberry and Banana Berry are other really nice combinations to try. Creating your own smoothie flavor is easy, just keep the base ingredients of yogurt and milk the same and then throw in whatever fruit and spices you desire. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen peaches, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup lowfat milk
  • 1/2 cup vanilla flavored lowfat yogurt

Instructions

Pour the milk into the blender along with the yogurt, vanilla extract and spices. Add the frozen peaches last. Blend until smooth. Serve cold.

**Tip – I use a little bit of Truvia® (stevia) to sweeten my smoothies. You can use granulated sugar, agave, honey or not use anything at all.**

Homemade Yogurt Smoothie

yogurt smoothie

My kids love yogurt smoothies but I hate all of the sugar and additives in the store-bought ones so I decided to make my own version at home. All you need is some milk, yogurt, sweetener (optional) and fresh fruit of your choosing. I used a little bit of honey to sweeten the smoothies but you can use maple syrup, granulated sugar, Truvia® or just leave it out all together. Another nice way to add additional flavor is through the use of extracts. Some good ones to try are vanilla, coconut, almond or even chocolate! Try combining different fruits as well for even more yummy flavor.

Some are my favorite smoothie concoctions are fresh pineapple with a little shredded coconut, apples with warm spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg and fresh strawberries with a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Turn these smoothies into a frosty treat by adding crushed ice and blending OR by freezing them into popsicles!

Store the smoothies in a clean, airtight bottle. I like to use large, clear glass bottles which are readily available at craft stores. Mason jars also make great vessels for storage as well as super cute drinking glasses. The yogurt smoothies will keep for about 5-7 days in the refrigerator. Shake well before serving.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla flavored yogurt
  • 1 cup chopped fruit
  • 2 tbs sweetener such as maple syrup or honey (optional)

Instructions

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend on medium-low until well combined and smooth. Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour. Shake well before serving.

Homemade Instant Oatmeal

oatmeal

A delicious, warm bowl of oatmeal is a great and hearty way to start your day but the ingredients that are in those instant packets aren’t always the best. Instead of grabbing a commercially prepared packet of oatmeal, grab a jar of your own homemade version! It’s super easy to prep and you can control the amount of sugar you use as well as choose your favorite add-ins. If you’re concerned about your sugar intake you can use less sugar or even replace it altogether with stevia, the Truvia® brand is my favorite.

For the batch pictured above, I used brown sugar, cinnamon and reduced sugar Craisins® however, you can change up the spices and use any other add-in you would like. Try out dried fruits, chocolate chips, or even chopped nuts. You can store your individual serving size oatmeal in cute Mason jars or small resealable bags. Make a few batches at a time, it only takes minutes to pull together and you’ll have a delicious breakfast ready to go each morning. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking or 1-minute oats
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbs packed brown sugar
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1 tbs mix-ins, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, etc.

Instructions

To prepare – Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Store in a small resealable bag or Mason jar. Makes 1 serving.

To cook – Empty the oatmeal into a small bowl or cook right in the Mason jar. Add 2/3 cup boiling water and stir. Cover with lid or plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes. Uncover, stir again and serve hot.