Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Homemade Fruit Snacks, Toddler Safe and Tesa Approved!

Usually I use this blog as a place to share cute stories about my little family, but today it's going to serve a more domestic, housewife-y purpose. It's actually kind of selfish, but I'm writing this entry for me. Let me explain: today I made some toddler-safe homemade fruit snacks for Tesa, but I combined several recipes I found on Pinterest (because I didn't have or didn't want to use some of the ingredients any one of the recipes had by themselves), and added my own twist, and they turned out AHH-MAZING, and I don't want to ever forget what I did, so I'm writing it all down and posting it here, because as everyone knows, once it's published on the Internet, it's out there forever. So yes, this blog post is just for me, but if you ever get a hankering to make your own fruit snacks, you can use it too! ;)

Please forgive my poor photography skills!

Homemade, Toddler-Safe Fruit Snacks (Steph's Version)

You'll need:

  • 2/3 c fresh or frozen fruit (I used frozen blueberries my great aunt picked last summer in Illinois)
  • 2/3 c fruit juice (I used no sugar added cranberry juice. I suggest using something citrus if you want a more traditional sour-ish taste)
  • 2 T honey (I used wildberry honey)
  • 4 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin

*Note: These fruit snacks are NOT super sweet. I made these for my toddler, so I didn't want them to be sugary. If you don't care that they are a little more unhealthy, you could add a little bit of sugar, but I wouldn't use more than a tablespoon. Just my opinion.

Here's what you do:

  • Combine fruit and fruit juice over medium heat until fruit is soft and turning mushy. Be sure to stir frequently during this process.
  • Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes, then puree the mixture in a blender until it becomes a smooth, even consistency.
  • Return to saucepan over medium-low heat and add honey. Stir until completely combined.
  • Add gelatin slowly, making sure to whisk as you add so the mixture doesn't clump. I added one envelope at a time and whisked until all the powder was completely dissolved until moving on to the next envelope.
  • Pour mixture into molds until you are out. If you don't have molds, you could use a 13" x 9" pan and cut into squares later. I had a few molds, but I still had some left over, so I used a small shallow bowl for the remainder and cut it into small cubes once it was set.
  • Put it all in the refrigerator to set for 1-2 hours. I waited the whole two hours for mine, but I don't think it will take quite that long.

That's it. How simple is that?! Super easy, right? And way better for kids than store-bought fruit snacks. This recipe yields enough for what I would consider about 6 servings. As far as how long they keep, I can't really attest to that yet, but just in case, I plan on keeping them in the fridge to maximize how long they stay fresh. These are toddler tested and approved by my 16 month old daughter, and I plan on buying more molds and adding these to the regular rotation of snack foods.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My Favorite Things List

As the mother of a small being who has only been around for sixteen short months, I am constantly amazed at how complex Tesa's personality already is. It's weird to think of her as her own whole person, apart from me, who has her own ideas and thoughts and quirks. The more mobile and independent she gets, the more I realize that she is developing into her own self, becoming more "her" than just a product of Tyson and I. It's bittersweet to watch; on the one hand I miss the days when I could hold her in one arm and she had no choice but to lay there and cuddle with me all day if that's what I chose to do, but on the other, I am so, so proud/happy/entertained to watch her grow and evolve and learn and react to everything that happens around her. I never want to forget the experiences and moments and little things that make my sweet daughter who she is, so I've created My Favorite Things List, The Tesa Edition. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

My Favorite Things List, The Tesa Edition
  1. She uses her toy golf clubs more as swords or drumsticks.
  2. She's the ultimate priss. She loves to be outside, but won’t touch grass, sand, or snow. In fact, if she sees other people touching it, chances are she will come try to knock it out of your hand.
  3. She ALWAYS looks mischievous when she's doing something she knows she shouldn’t.
  4. When she picks up something she’s not supposed to and you tell her no, she acts like it was her intention to hand it to you all along. "But Mom, I was just bringing it to you because I'm know I'm not supposed to have it, duh!"
  5. She crawls from one end of the couch to the other, and when she reaches the end opposite of you, she looks back, grins, and crawls on back.
  6. She absolutely won’t cuddle unless she's tired AND Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is on. Then it's ok to sit back with you on the couch. But only then. Really, don't try at any other time.
  7. She likes to help empty the dishwasher, and groups the silverware together when she's handing it to you. She takes out all her small spoons, then all of the regular utensils, then large serving spoons, etc.
  8. Every button or light switch passed has to be pushed or flipped.
  9. She throws her pacifiers out of her crib when she’s ready to get up from her nap, then when we go get her out, she patiently puts them all back in, one by one, by dropping them in between the bars.
  10. She dances to all kinds of music.
  11. She gets so excited about bath time she runs around the bathroom screaming, “ba! ba!” while the water fills up the tub.
  12. She gets frustrated when her hair gets in her eyes and impatiently pushes it away.
  13. She has to have at least 10 pacifiers in her crib with her when going to sleep. One for her mouth, one for each hand, and a plethora of extras in case she needs to let you know she's awake. (See #9.)
  14. She can’t be bothered to give anyone a real kiss. Instead, when asked for one, she just leans her face in your direction.
  15. She loves to “jump" (a.k.a., bend her knees and stand up straight very quickly in succession; her feet never leave the floor).
  16. She lets you know she’s done eating by pulling off her bib and promptly dropping her cup of milk on the floor.
  17. She steadfastly believes the throw pillows do not belong on the couch - they belong in the floor.
  18. When she gets sleepy, she rubs her eyes and then gives me a critical look, like it’s my fault she’s tired.
  19. She makes “grabby hands” every time she passes the cookie jar.
  20. She likes to help load the washing machine; and by help, I mean take things out one by one as you are trying to put them all in.
  21. She sees every opportunity to go upstairs as the chance to race.
  22. When she's trying to figure out how to make something work (turn on a toy, get the screen on the phone to come on, get her shoe on her foot) and she just can't do it herself, she makes a disdainful face and a noise of frustration and hands off the item, as if to say, "Here, handle this."
  23. She sticks her feet out, one at a time, to help you put her socks on.
  24. She tries to share her pacifier with you.
  25. She likes to sleep face down with her little butt sticking up in the air.
These are just a few of the crazy adorable things that make up the ever-growing, ever-changing personality of my Tesa. I can't wait to add to this list over the years, and be able to look back and laugh at the memory of all these little quirks!