Cheese and pepperoni have their place, but this cool, refreshing “pizza” boasts chilled watermelon, banana slices, blueberries and coconut. Summer means fresh fruits are on center stage. Photo by: sweetsimplevegan.com
July 8, 2015 10:19:35 AM
Did you notice? At about the minute the last firecracker popped on July 4, stores began slipping back-to-school supplies on the shelves. (Much as Valentine's merchandise is out on Dec. 26.) It's easy to let supply lists, ring binders and No. 2 pencils hijack a summer state of mind. But even as we prep for the kids' return to the classroom, remember they still have a month of "hot fun in the summertime" ahead. If you're on a quest for healthier snacks to serve poolside or after a day of bikes, baseball or boating, here's a round-up of refreshing ways to enjoy fruit.
Summer's "perfect fruit" -- fresh watermelon -- has had a slow go, what with Mother Nature's soggy spring pushing back the planting. But a few are beginning to surface at area farmers' markets, with promise of more to come. Think watermelon "pizza." Chilled watermelon slices, topped with banana, berries, coconut and a few mint leaves for garnish -- or whatever toppings you desire. Then use some of that watermelon for small melon balls to go with other fruits like cantaloupe and honeydew in a cool medley served up atop ice cream cones. (Put the fruit in a small paper liner, like a cupcake wrapper.)
This has got to be delicious: an easy-to-eat version of caramel apple from kkcb.com -- and you won't be wearing caramel from ear to ear. Cut an apple in half and hollow it using a melon baller. (Balance the halves in a muffin pan.) Then fill the wells created with melted caramel. Let it harden and cut the caramel-filled apples into bite-sized slices. You may want to add a bit of butter to the melting caramel for extra creaminess. Serve chilled.
Ultra simple: Make "cat in the hat" kabobs with a grape (the head) on a skewer topped by thinnish alternating slices of strawberry and banana (the iconic hat).
Green grapes on a skewer can become a caterpillar. White margarine and brown liquid chocolate applied with a toothpick can make fake eyes. While the chocolate is out, make ladybugs by slicing strawberries in half and adding a line down the back and a few dots, plus eyes, to each half.
If you have more time to invest, a recipe for cinnamon flavored baked apple chips is included in today's food section. Swap them out for salty, fat-filled TV snacks.
Yes, school bells will be ringing soon enough, but they're not pealing just yet. In the weeks that remain, soak up some rays (while suitably SPF'd) and help the kids enjoy the fresh fruits of summer.
1/2 round of a medium watermelon
1 handful of blueberries
1-2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut
1 tablespoon goji berries
1 tablespoon fresh mint
BAKED APPLE CHIPS
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours
Apples, 1 to 2
2-3 teaspoons cinnamon sweet spice blend
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.