Posts Tagged ‘fruit’

Nix the Fruitcake, Bring on the Fruit Salad

I love cake, I’ll admit it.  I love baking cakes, making icing, frosting cakes, eating cakes, smelling cakes, okay I’ll stop now.  But, really, I love cake.  But in my baking career, which started my junior year of college when I moved into my apartment, I’ve noticed that I gravitate toward baking mass quantities of goodies.  Cookies, cakes, muffins, cupcakes, pies, cakes… notice a trend?

For example, here’s what happens when I have a free Sunday afternoon:


[Yes, Cookie Monster cupcakes: Chocolate cupcakes, vanilla frosting dipped in blue sprinkles, half a chocolate chip cookie in the mouth, canada mints with black gel frosting dots for eyes. 🙂 Go bake!]

Okay, now that we’ve established how much I love cake, I’d like to point out that in my house growing up, we rarely had dessert.  We would have dinner, which consisted of rice or a choice of Indian bread (Chapathi, naan, roti, etc.), two or three kinds of curry (there’s 5-6 servings of vegetables right there!), daal (a thick, high-protein soup made from lentils or beans) or sambar (a thick, lentil-based, vegetable soup), and homemade plain yogurt.  Dessert, we regarded as a delicacy, to be enjoyed on holidays, birthdays or other special occasions.

Introducing desserts in high quantity into my diet formed a habit I should start reversing.  Don’t get me wrong, I love cake and I won’t stop eating it.  But, I have been looking into healthy alternatives to cake to serve as the “dessert” portion of my meal.

Some good options are fresh fruit:

  • Sliced champagne mangoes (my favorite mango variety, usually imported from Mexico)
  • Sliced apples with a spoonful or two of peanut butter
  • Sliced apples sprinkled with cinnamon sugar
  • Peaches/plums

Here are some good, non-fruit options:

  • Yogurt cups (Dannon Light is my favorite)
  • Wheat thins and peanut butter
  • Ritz crackers and peanut butter

Now, finally, for a recipe.  If you’re going to the trouble of slicing up the fruit, turn it into a fruit salad!

Fresh Fruit Salad with Cool Whip

  • Cool Whip (Get the Cool Whip brand, not the dinky “Whipped Topping.” Trust me on this one.)
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Sliced melons (I prefer watermelon, you might not)
  • Peaches, peeled & sliced
  • Sliced strawberries
  • Seedless green grapes
  • 1 banana peeled & sliced
  • 1 Mandarin orange, peeled & sliced

Mix the fruit with enough Cool Whip to cover all of the fruit lightly.  Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes, then enjoy cool fruit and Cool Whip (pun mostly intended) as a delicious complement to a flavorful dinner.

Fruit & Granola Smoothies with Toast

It’s a Saturday morning, which immediately calls for an elaborate mid-morning brunch. While my go-to for brunch is the standard American veggie omelette, pancakes, and breakfast potatoes, every once in a while I find myself thinking: If I didn’t fill myself up with such heavy breakfast foods, maybe my Saturdays would be far more productive. Well, in my search for something equally delicious, but significantly healthier, I settled on smoothies and toast.

Now, the specifics of the smoothie and the style of and spread on the toast are entirely up to your personal palette, but as I generally do, I’m going to offer my two cents on what I believe are delicious smoothies and types of breads.  The only heavy machinery required for smoothies is a good blender (okay, I’m kidding about the heavy machinery part, but really, invest in a good blender).  My favorite blender is the Oster brand.  Oster is relatively inexpensive, running about $20 for an average quality blender, but you can invest in a $60 stainless steel blender if you happen to be a blender enthusiast.  Here’s my blender, a basic 10-speed:


Strawberry Banana Granola Smoothie

(Change the quantities to taste – I’ll admit I’ve never actually measured my smoothie ingredient measurements.)

  • 5 oz. fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 – 1 cup Plain yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup granola
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 3 drops vanilla extract

Making the smoothie is extremely simple: Wash strawberries and remove stems. Process all ingredients in your blender until smooth.

Now, for toast: I personally love whole grain or oatmeal breads because they have a distinct flavor that isn’t lost in the toasting process.  I grew up eating Nature’s Own Honey Wheat, which is still my go-to bread if I’m having trouble choosing from the generally extensive bread selection at Shaw’s (now Star Market).  There are two brands that make oatnut bread, one is Freihofer’s which I simply cannot stop eating. Cinnamon Raisin bread is great for toast, but I find the combination of a smoothie and cinnamon raisin toast entirely too sweet.  I toast my bread via toaster oven to a medium toast, flipping the toast the second it starts darkening. Black & Decker makes a simple, functional, but high-quality toaster oven.  This is the one I have:


For toppings, I love simple buttered toast with my smoothies because there’s enough sweetness in the latter as is.  Land O’Lakes Spreadable Butter and Country Crock Original (Margarine) are my favorites, because they spread easily without crushing or tearing the toast. Currently, I’m enjoying homemade peach jam, courtesy of my friend Christina’s dad, but otherwise I would opt for strawberry jam or orange marmelade.

And, I almost forgot. The best part of smoothies is they can be taken to go.

Enjoy your breakfast!

P.S. If you’re craving pancakes, Jenny offers a healthy alternate recipe for Banana Oatmeal Pancakes at her blog: Enjoy Your Cheerios.

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