A blueberry, a strawberry & a rhubarb walk into a bar....
...ya...that's all I've got. And I am not even sure if "a rhubarb" is a thing.
(yes, Mr. I said WEEK) Think what you will about this potentially Hallmark-inspired holiday, it's one of the better ones. Chocolate, flowers, chocolate, sparkly things, chocolate, mushy poems and chocolate. Beats green beer and haggis any day.
Although the fruit leather turned a deep, rich shade of red, the snack was actually not inspired by the official Love day. Rather the result of a much of what I have been reading. What more people should be reading. I am not sure if it's a chicken or egg thing...whether there is more discussion out there or I am just more perceptive to it, but there seems to be a lot more unnecessary 'stuff' in our food. A lot a lot. And not the obvious Twinkies and Coca Cola. (That stuff will outlive my great grandchildren.) Rather the seemingly harmless, dare we say healthy foods. The commercial food industry is starting to be a bit of a letdown.
This is not meant to be a soap box or anything preachy. I have posted about my GMO 101 experience before. And I am a subscriber to the "when you know better, you do better" mantra. I don't intend on sowing my own wheat or raising my own chickens anytime soon, but it seems as if every week one more commercially made product leaves my pantry. There are hundreds of food additive chemicals that are banned all over the rest of the world, but somehow still legal in North America. Here are just a few...
Rice Krispies: BHT is added in North America but NOT in Europe. Its a preservative made from petroleum. Happy to know Little has been enjoying a bowl full of petroleum with his bananas. Mom of the Year right here.
Quaker Oats Oatmeal: Grab a box of the strawberry and you will find almost everything but. And instead of strawberries they add apples treated with sulfites. Of course. Makes perfect sense.
Rold Gold Pretzels: I thought a somewhat healthy alternative when I crave a
hundred potato chip(s). Then I learned the enriched flour is "enriched" by adding a metallic form of iron that your body can barely absorb and should not be ingested. New definition for "chick magnet".
Pacific Organic Chicken Broth: Yes, the one from Costco. Sounds pure & innocent but it contains 'yeast extract'. A completely legal way to describe MSG. OMG.
This is a very short list that I sense will get very long. You can argue everything in moderation and yes, there are often only trace amounts in the serving size but I can't help but thinking about all the allergies, behavioural issues, food sensitivities and wonder if we just need to get back to basics. The small sample I listed above no longer resides in my pantry. I have replaced them with Natures Path Rice Cereal, Steel cut oats, Trader Joes Whole Grain Pretzels and Kitchen Basics Broths. Maybe better? I dunno. I hope so. Time may tell.
The fruit leather came about when I read this article about the fact that the Fruit Roll Up people just lost a law suit for labeling a the snack "naturally flavoured strawberry" only to discover it contained not one morsel of the berry. Now, I don't think I have had the original fruit roll up since the mid-eighties but this stuff is ridiculously easy to make. Whenever I can write a recipe that has 4 ingredients and an instruction that reads "put it in the oven and go to bed", I am happy. Use whatever fruit/veggie you like. I would like to experiment with some leafy greens in the future (don't tell Little there may be spinach in there one day) Just cook up the ingredients, add a sweetener if you like (maple syrup or honey would be best) pour on a silpat and off to bed. Mine had a chewy consistency which makes for a perfect "swimming snack" aka the snack Little has after our lessons. He can gnaw and suck on it while mama attempts to discreetly peel off a wet swimsuit and then equally discreetly slide wet legs into tights all while trying to keep a toddler from running around a likely germ infested change room. Ahhh the glamour.
I will continue to research the space around commercial food and just practice simple moderation. Real life still happens.
And whatever your food choices, the knowledge never hurts...
... but petroleum in your cereal might.
Triple Fruit Rollups
2 cups of chopped rhubarb stems 2 cups of strawberries (I used frozen from last summer) 1 cup blueberries (same as the strawberries) 1 Tbsp Amber Honey or Maple Syrup
1. Dump all the fruit and the honey/syrup into a saucepan and cook down until soft (about 15 minutes) 2. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. 3. Pour onto a silpat lined cookie sheet (or parchment paper) to desired thickness. The thicker, the longer it will take to dehydrate. I spread this amount onto one sheet and it worked well. 4. Place cookie sheet in an oven and turn on to 180 F (NOT Celsius) and leave for up to 8 hours. I put mine in and left it overnight. You could do the same all day. The oven will barely feel warm but time will do the trick. 5. Remove from oven, place in the fridge to chill (about 20 minutes) and slice to your liking.