Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Fruit Snacks

Several weeks ago I attempted to replicate those wonderfully chewy, flavorful, foil pouched fruit snacks. I wouldn't go as far as to say I've mastered it but this is the closest I have come. On Pinterest I found many mommy bloggers who have recipes and upon inspection I think every single one was the same with the only variations being natural organic gelatin vs. run of the mill cheap-o gelatin, and fruit juice vs. a mixture of puree and juice. 
Here were my finds:
No.1 Fruit pectin does not substitute for gelatin. That was an accidental discovery as the first time I tried making these I realized too late that I had bought pectin not gelatin; you're welcome for the insight, we enjoyed some pretty thick blueberry lemon jelly so no real loss ;)

No.2 The generic recipe you are going to find out there is this:
4 Tbsp Gelatin
1 1/2 cups Fruit Juice
3 Tbsp Honey
1/2 tsp Vanilla 
And although its perfectly fine tasting and will please your child (especially if they haven't grown up having the store bought kind;) they are NOT satisfyingly squishy to the momma who has a soft spot in her heart for those scrumptious coveted snacks. These will turn out like tiny cubes (or shapes if you use a mold) of extra hard jello. Yummy and chew-able but not squishy, melt in your mouth chewy.

No.3 Fruit puree is the way to go for a more squishy satisfying treat; still not perfect but the closest I got.

No.4 You can use much less gelatin, also making them more squishy and still plenty set up. 

No.5 If your child is anything like mine it might make you crazy how many she wants to eat in a day, so to save your sanity you might forgo making these, purchase a fridge she can't open, or try leaving them in a cupboard at the risk of spoiling.

I'm using Apple Juice, Honey, a partially eaten apple, which I pureed, Knox gelatin, and YL Thieves Oil

My serious helper
My adorable "cheese"er

After sprinkling the gelatin on the fruit/juice you wait for it to absorb before heating

Second flavor: Berry Juice, Blueberry Juice, Cranberries - pureed, Honey, YL Lemon Oil

Flips out super cleanly with out greasing or lining the pan
and cuts easily, as well

I ordered these cups from Amazon with the hopes of portion control. They were $12 for 100 with attached lids and were supposed to be reusable. They are but it's probably just as well to order the super cheep ones with un attached lids and just throw them away at leisure. The lids are coming unattached after one or two uses anyways. Not worth the extra money.

My Variations of Fruit Snacks

2 cups Fruit Juice
  Batch 1-Apple Juice
  Batch 2-Berry Juice
1/2 cup Pureed Fruit
  Batch 1-Apple
  Batch 2-Cranberries
3 Tblp Gelatin Powder
2+ Tbsp Honey
3+ Drops Essential Oil

Mix juice and pureed fruit in a saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin powder over it and allow to sit a few minutes to absorb. Turn on heat and add honey. Allow to heat until all the gelatin has dissolved, you will notice it losing its grainy texture. Depending on how hot it took to dissolve the gelatin allow to cool before adding Essential Oils. Pour into a loaf pan and refrigerate 3 hours. Flip out and cut to desired sizes.
These keep in the fridge as long as your children allow them to be kept. If storing at room temperature I've seen it recommended to keep no longer than two weeks.

Enjoy! Or better yet; try your own variations and let me know what changes to make for next time!!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

joy as a child

This is an unscheduled, perhaps uninteresting post but it hit me today and it is going on the blog. 

We were at the table, eating our egg sandwich lunch, when the train whistle sounded. The local train cuts its path between corn and soybean fields just across the street from our home. When Jerusha heard it coming she jumped down from her high chair and ran to the bedroom window. Éowyn, already on the floor followed her and together they watched the train. Apricot jelly on her cheek, excitement in her sparkly eye, Jerusha helped her little sister try and see the train. 
It's raw innocent beauty. 
The imagination of a child at this age is unadulterated by the cares and evils of this world; it truly is amazing to stop and watch your babies, see where they find joy and interest, maybe there are a few things we can learn by looking at the world through the eyes of a toddler. 

"And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, except he be converted, and become as little children, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

This same beautiful child is now attempting to put Mommy's make-up on. Look through their eyes, but still be the decerning mother and parent ;)
Glimpses from my beautiful little bubble,

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Productive Days

This week my Wesley is out of town again for work after having been home for three weeks. It had been nice having him back in the evenings but it has been my expirence that great highs dip into very deep lows when husbands have to be out of town when you've just gotten used to having them around again.  So, I prepared myself and made a few goals for this week; first and foremost I was not going to get down on myself if I spent a few days just 'getting by'. If I managed to keep up with diaper changings, feeding kiddos and personal hygiene but had no stamina left over for "extras" it was going to be okay. The laundry and dishes would be there and weren't going to be worth keeping up with if it meant losing my sanity. So I was prepared and so far, so good. In fact, I think my pre meditated attitude has lead me to be more productive than I thought I would be.

First thing Monday I spent an hour on the phone sorting out banking details, which, in all honesty would have been enough "adulting" for an entire week for me, a phone avoiding person. I also did a little sewing project after I'd been keeping up with my listed necessities.
Tuesday I spent a lot of time at in-lws before finally coming home where I productively washed dishes while visiting a close friend and then managed to do quite a bit of laundry. Kids still staying in fresh diapers and clothes ;)
Today my youngest two sisters are here to entertain my babies while I have washed dishes, baked breakfast muffins for the freezer, and cookies for snacks, started and folded 3 loads of laundry. I still have some things on my to-do list so is better get back at it!

Also, I have a post coming that I am super excited about.. before and after, kitchen floor renovations!! There's a tiny sneak peak in a picture below!
Another post I hope to get up is about some fun kiddo incorparative exercises that are helping me get back in some sort of shape, now that I'm finally back to post-first-pregnancy weight!
Cranberry Muffins
& Carrot Muffin/cookies (I ran out of muffin tins and decided the batter was thick enough to bake as cookies. 

Ooey Gooey chocolate chip cookies, some for now and some to pop in the oven as desired. So likely very soon. ;P

It may not seem like a lot but my day has felt productive to me, and that is what matters. My hands may not have time to find much to do but I am content knowing I have done it to the best of my ability, with all my might. 
Enjoy your bubbles and the tasks set before you!